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AFC Cup: Abahani to play Mohun Bagan today

31 May 2017,Wednesday, 13:04



In a football battle of two Bengals, Dhaka Premier League champions Abahani Limited will play Kolkata giant Mohun Bagan FC in their last Group E match of the AFC Cup Football at Bangabandhu National Stadium today with both the teams being serious about winning the match.

The match will kick off at 7:45 pm (Bangladesh time).

Earlier in the away match, Dhaka Abahani lost to Mohun Bagan FC by 1-3 goals despite leading by 1-0 goal at Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in Kolkata last month.

Abahani have already been eliminated from the four-team group and remained at bottom securing only three points from five matches after beating JSW Bengaluru FC of India by 2-0 goals in the home match early this month.

In the group matches, Abahani lost to Maziya SR 0-2 in home match, conceded 1-3 defeat against Mohun Bagan FC in away match, lost to JSW Bengaluru 0-2 in away match, beat JSW Bengaluru 2-0 in home match and lost to Maziya SR 0-2 in away match.

In a pre-match press conference at BFF Bhaban on Tuesday, both the teams expressed their optimism to finish their AFC Cup campaign on a winning note.

The Croatian coach of Dhaka Abahani Ltd, Drago Mamic, said his team is ready for the challenge, saying “It’ll be a big match and playing against Mohun Bagan FC in our own yard is very significant.”

“We are confident and aware of that playing well ensures a win, and for that we have to avail the chances… we will go on the field as the representatives of Bangladesh, with a view to providing something special to the fans of Abahani,” the coach added.

Replying to a question whether Abahani will lack motivation as there is no chance of moving ahead, coach Mamic said, “There’s no room for complacency as a professional outfit never runs out of motivation. A football club never wants to lose. We don’t fight on the field to lose the match and surely we don’t want to lose the last match of AFC Cup."

Mamic acknowledged their opponents strength despite being without their star striker Sony Norde. “Mohun Bagan is a strong team. It does not matter whether they have Sony Norde or not. When the key player is not there, other players are motivated to perform. They have a good number of players in Jeje Lalpekhula, Balwant Singh, Katsumi Yusa, and Darryl Duffy,” explained Mamic.

Mohun Bagan coach Sanjay Sen appeared confident of a good show despite expressing the reality.

‘It’s our last match of the season. We want to cap the season off with a win. We have played the I League, the Federation Cup and the AFC Cup. We have played a total of 33 matches this season. Despite losing only seven of them, we didn’t win any trophy. The results show how Mohun Bagan has performed. Tomorrow’s match has nothing to provide for both the teams,” he said.

Sanjay said he is not worried about the absence of Sony Norde, the Haitian forward.

 

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