The city of Kolkata on Sunday will awake to the big derby unofficially rated as one of the top 10 football rivalries of the world. Being the first time these two teams will meet this season a 100,000 strong crowd is more than a possibility.
Kingfisher East Bengal will miss the services of their star forward Australian Tolgay Ozbey who is suspended for this match with a double booking. Mehtab Hussain on the other hand is yet to recover from his injury and is doubtful to play any part in the match. Khemtang Paite is also not likely to play the match as he is injured.
Head coach of Kingfisher East Bengal Trevor Morgan said ahead of the big clash that "It does not make a difference if few players are injured or suspended. It is part and parcel of the game and we have replacements in every department to have a strong team on the pitch. We need to keep up the momentum we have from recent matches and put in a strong performance". Furthermore Morgan went on to request Kingfisher East Bengal fans to come in large numbers and support their team. On the other hand he refused to comment on the rivals Mc Dowells Mohun Bagan.
Sanjhu Pradhan, the Kingfisher East Bengal captain was upbeat about the match and said it was a must win match for them and they would be going for an all out win. He was quick to add that their present form and combinations have been working well enough to be strong contenders to win the derby.
For Mc Dowells Mohun Bagan, their defense will miss Anwar Ali, who is nursing an injury while Hudson Lima is still to recover from a knock suffered in the last match versus Churchill Brothers SC. Manish Mathani is also doubtful for the match.
Mc Dowells Mohun Bagan Head Coach Prasanta Banerjee said: "We are currently in the 2nd in the I-League so there is no pressure on us and nothing to worry about. We have been winning the last few matches and it us pushed us towards the top of the table".
Mc Dowells Mohun Bagan captain Jose Barreto feels: "Attack is the best form of defense and we will have to keep attacking and keep their defenders busy if we are to take the pressure of our defenders".
Prasanta Banerjee added: "Although Barreto's thinking is attacking minded I think we will have to play a more constructive game working the ball upwards with many passes starting right from the defenders".
For Kingfisher East Bengal, Penn will once again be the driving force in the centre of the field but Mc Dowells Mohun Bagan would have pre planned a strategy for the other key players are well.
The Kick off is slated for 6:30 PM, November 20.
Churchill Brothers SC vs Mumbai FC:
Churchill Brothers will look to return to winning ways as Coach Manuel Gomes welcomes a clutch of regulars back into the fold for a crucial home clash against Mumbai FC at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Sunday.
Churchill, largely handicapped by the absence of several key players, suffered a reverse against Mohun Bagan in the last match, but coach Gomes would feel confident against Mumbai FC, not just because they are playing at home, but also because several players would return to the side.
Larindika Ralte and ND Opara, both of whom were suspended for the last clash with a double booking, are back into the starting eleven while Bineesh Balan has also recovered from a niggling injury and has made himself available for the crucial clash.
Coach Gomes is likely to revert to his original striking pair of Henri Antchouet and ND Opara while the midfield quartet will consist of Larindika Ralte, Steven Dias on either flanks, and Lenny Rodrigues and M. Zakeer at the centre. The defence remains unchanged with the likes of Denzil Franco, Dhanraj Ravanan, Gouramangi Singh and Antun Kovacic.
Churchill are playing only their second match at home and given the support for them at Fatorda it is not a surprise that they are eyeing full points.
Mumbai FC on the other hand would also look at breaking the sequence of defeats.
Khalid Jamil’s boys gave a good account of themselves in the last match at Fatorda -- against Salgaocar Sports Club -- but were distinctly unlucky not to get anything out of the match as Abhishek Yadav missed a late penalty.
It was not immediately known if Jamil would be forced to ring in the changes to arrest the string of defeats, but for a side that stretched Salgaocar to the limit - and that too in their own den - there is definitely some hope.
HAL Bangalore vs Air India:
The only two institutional teams HAL Bangalore and Air India in this I-league, would be up against each other in the sixth round on November 20th. Both the teams are languishing at the bottom-half in the current standing.
The airmen might have taken severe beatings in the initial two rounds, however, they came back strongly in last 3 rounds – defeating Salgaocar at home and Chirag Kerala away and a goal-less away draw against Shillong Lajong.
For the hosts, it has been all struggles lately! Only 1 point from 5 matches, and more appalling is 3 straight home defeats. “We have nothing but to win this match”, as HAL rightly pointed by coach Thyagarajan, when asked the game plan for Sunday’s game.
After trying out with a single striker in the last few matches, HAL might come back to the 4-4-2 formation. Veteran RC Prakash is likely to take the field and central defender T V Biju Kumar sits out due to injury with Liliyan Kenneth replacing the later.
Air India coach, Santosh Kashyap has his task cut out against HAL attack. The Mumbai-team is left out with no option but to try a young defense-line. They will be missing the services of Lamine Tamba, Kali Alaudeen, and captain Napoleon Singh out due to injury.
Kashyap sees no reason to take their opponent lightly, “HAL has been a good side, they play possession football, and it is always difficult to beat them at home.