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Salt Lake Stadium primed for Kolkata Derby between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal

By Aravind
Mohun Bagan's Sony Norde during a training session in Kolkata on Saturday (Image courtesy: AIFF Media)

Kolkata, December 2: Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen claims his past all-win home record against Khalid Jamil, the East Bengal coach, will matter little when the two sides clash in the Kolkata Derby at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday (December 3).

"I don't live in the past. I believe this will be a crucial game for both sides. This league is about points and I am guessing they too won't like to drop any," Sen said on the eve of the match.

Mohun Bagan started their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Minerva Punjab away from home, where they conceded a late goal after leading for most parts of the game. "You can be excused since it's the first match. But if you continue this in the upcoming games, you will suffer," Sen said. "You cannot tell the players that we want to go for a draw. We will go for a win. If we fail to win, a draw won't be bad. But, any point is important in the league as we have failed to regain the title in the last two seasons. You have to respect the opponents, but we are not underdogs," added Sen.

Star player Sony Norde remained humble on the eve of the game as thousands of Mariners pinned their hopes on the Haitian magician. "It's not only about me; there are a lot of experienced players. We are ready to fight and let's hope we keep on the momentum. Playing against them is different. We don't play with East Bengal the same we play against Shillong Lajong," he said.

He continued, "I can score five goals tomorrow but if we concede seven, then what is the point? It's not about me. East Bengal's defence can be very bad against some other team but against us, they can become very good. If Khalid Jamil sends 3-4 players to stop me, we have enough quality players to make a difference on some other side of the field."

Jamil too remained positive ahead of his first Kolkata Derby. "Both teams have experience. Both sides have quality players and their coach is good. Both their defence and attack is strong. We have to be alert. We must complete the game and cannot take them lightly. We have to control the things from the start to the end. You have to be patient and have a hold on mental and physical aspect," said the former Aizawl FC coach. "Sony Norde is a good player and so is Aser Pierrick Dipanda. If we score early goals, we have to sit on it," Jamil added.

Both camps have minimum injury concerns, but Mohun Bagan are definitely sweating over the potential return of Yuta Kinowaki and Azharuddin Mallick, who scored the last time these two sides met in the I-League in April.

The Red and Golds will be looking towards Laldanmawia Ralte to fulfil his role on the wings. Katsumi Yusa and Eduardo Ferreira will be pumped up to face their old side for the first time they switched camps during the close season.

Interestingly, this game comes early into the season; in the second round itself and both teams will be itching to register their first win of the season, having been held to draws in their opening contests.

Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal
The 319th Kolkata Derby
Live on Star Sports 2 and Hotstar
at 2 pm

Source: AIFF Media

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    Story first published: Saturday, December 2, 2017, 17:36 [IST]
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