Kolkata, Feb 17 (IANS) Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen said on Friday that Saturday’s home tie against DSK Shivajians will be crucial to their I-League campaign as they must win to keep the pressure on table toppers and arch-rivals East Bengal.
Bagan, second in the points table with 18 points from eight matches, will take on Shivajians at the Rabindra Sarovar Stadium here on Saturday. East Bengal are at the top of the heap with 21 points from nine matches.
In the last two away games, which included the Kolkata derby, Bagan dropped four points and mustered just two with back to back draws.
In Mumbai, Bagan’s goalless result hurt them more because they had a chance to pile further pressure on leaders East Bengal, who too had played a draw earlier that day, having failed to win against Shillong Lajong in Siliguri.
So when Sen said that Saturday’s match is as good as a must win encounter, there was enough reason behind it.
“This one is our turnaround game,” Sen told reporters on the eve of the game.
In the first meeting of the two sides earlier in the season, Shivajians had held Bagan to a goalless stalemate in Pune.
“In our two away matches, our target was six or at least four points, but we got two points. Thus, this is a very important game for us. We have to get back to winning ways,” Sen said.
Bagan have won all their four matches at home. Sen said they would want to continue their rich form in their own lair.
“We will try and maintain out all-win home record. Mohun Bagan have also conceded the least number of goals in the league. That is good as far as our backline is concerned. We will definitely try to score and win the match,” he added.
Bagan star Haitian forward Sony Norde has been battling a knee injury he picked up during the Indian Super League match where he plied for Mumbai City FC, is fit to start, according to his doctor.
Norde has said that if he feels pain, he might need to go under the knife.
“Anant Joshi is a renowned sports doctor and he is treating Sony. According to his advice I am putting him in first XI (for tomorrow),” Sen said.
Shivajians have had a recent spate of good results with a draw against defending champions Bengaluru FC and a win over Shillong Lajong on the road. They were held by I-League newcomers Minerva Punjab FC at the latter’s home ground in their last game.
The Dave Rogers coached side, who are currently sixth in the table with 10 points from nine outings, skipped their press conference on Friday which might draw the ire of the I-League organisers.