Calcutta: The loss to Dempo SC in Margao has all but ended East Bengal’s hopes in the I-League. Captain Mehtab Hussain echoed such sentiments on Tuesday.
“I’m very, very upset with our performance in this I-League. I’ve been part of this club for the last seven years. I had this dream that East Bengal will lift the I-League trophy under my leadership. But looking at how things have progressed, I feel it’s all but over,” said Mehtab.
East Bengal have a chance to redeem some lost pride when they face Mohun Bagan on Saturday. Mehtab is hoping a victory would restore some optimism in the team’s ranks.
“If we win against Bagan, at least a little bit of optimism will be back. I think it’s the wrong set-up with which he played at the start of this season, which led to our undoing.
“For instance, Saumik (Dey) was made to play alongside me in the midfield (by Marcos Falopa), which upset the team’s rhythm to a huge extent.”
East Bengal, though, will be without Gurwinder Singh, who will miss the Derby because of a red card in their previous match. Chidi is also in doubt after a MRI scan on his thigh.
Mohun Bagan, too, have their share of worries. There is no guarantee that Okolie Odafa will be available for the match.
The Mohun Bagan captain will be examined by a doctor on Wednesday following which it is expected to be clear whether he will play the Derby.
“I’m leaving it to the doctorů A tough decision,” said Mohun Bagan coach Karim Bencharifa.