I-League: Bagan plot win vs Chennai, DSK face Churchill (Preview, Lead)

Chennai, Jan 20 (IANS) Kolkata football giants Mohun Bagan will eye their fourth straight win in the I-League when they face debutants Chennai City FC here on Saturday.

Nohun Bagan have won their opening three matches of the tournament, all of which were played at their home ground in Kolkata.

Bagan pummelled Minerva Punjab FC 4-0 at the Rabindra Sarovar Stadium in their last game, in which their star forward Haitian Sony Norde and Brazil born defender Eduardo Fereirra made their first appearance for the club in the season.

Norde sizzled with his trickery with the ball although the goals were scored by Scottish striker Darryl Duffy and Jeje Lalpekhlua.

Duffy’s form has been encouraging for coach Sanjoy Sen, having scored four goals in their last two matches.

One among Jeje or Balwant Singh, who scored in their first match against Churchill Brothers, would partner Duffy. Both have staked their claim for a first team spot with important goals.

Chennai, coached by Robin Charles Raja, have found the going difficult like fellow newcomers Minerva and Churchill Brothers.

They will hope to utilise their home advantage at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium but an under-cooked side and lack of preparation in front of the goal have been their bane.

They will have to punch above their weight if they harbour any hopes of getting a positive result from the match on Saturday. The only point they have garnered so far was against Minerva, playing a goalless draw at home.

Elsewhere, DSK Shivajians’ morale-boosting win against Chennai City FC will give them confidence to look forward to a face-off against Churchill at their Balewadi Stadium on Saturday.

It will be the first time that these sides meet in the I-League. DSK coach Dave Rogers said he is looking forward to the encounter.

“We’ll approach this game in the same manner that we’ve approached the other games. We are expecting another tough game tomorrow. There are no easy games in this I-League,” he said.

“The players are ready and prepared in the right way, both mentally and physically. We are looking forward to the game against Churchill Brothers. It’s great to see them back to where they belong,” Rogers added.

In Shillong, hosts Shillong Lajong FC will play their first home game of the league against Minerva Punjab FC.

Shillong are desperate for points after losing all their first three matches, goin down against defending champions Bengaluru FC, Mohun Bagan and Aizawl FC.

Minerva have fared marginally better, drawing their first match against Chennai City FC 0-0, then accepting defeat against Aizawl and Mohun Bagan.

“We knew that our first two games were going to be tough but I am really disappointed with the performance against Aizawl. There was very poor defending and that is because we have a lot of young defenders who lack that experience,” Thangboi Singto said.