HERO I-LEAGUE: Last chance saloon for Bagan and Minerva

Kolkata, January 8, 2019: It may be a last chance at redemption as Mohun Bagan and defending champions Minerva Punjab face-off at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK).

Bagan lie in sixth spot while Minerva are one place below them in the 12th Hero I-League standings. Both teams go into this fixture on the back of morale-sapping defeats.

The Kolkata outfit have named Khalid Jamil as their new coach (Sankarlal Chakraborty resigned after the loss to Real Kashmir). Jamil (who helped Aizawl FC win their maiden I-League title) has had limited time to prepare for this crunch fixture.

In his first press conference he stressed on the need to keep things simple: “It is the first match for me and it is a big challenge to get a good start. We are only thinking about a positive start. We are not thinking about the past but about tomorrow, and will be giving our best. I will be keeping it simple, not many changes and thinking positive.”

Minerva on the other hand has been inconsistent under Irish coach Paul Munster. They have scored only six times in 11 games. None of Munster’s player-combinations has worked so far.

Munster had this to say: “It’s a new coach. When a new coach comes in, the players want to impress the new coach. So, it is a motivation for them. We are aware of Mohun Bagan and we know how they play. New coach, he may make new decisions, new tactics, maybe different players playing.”

He hinted that his premiere marksman might be injured for the game: “We have only two foreigners playing in defence, as others are injured. Both teams are in the same situation, similar in the league positions as well.”

Bagan (who beat Minerva in their previous meeting) has won three of it’s last five games. Minerva (who beat East Bengal earlier in the season) may take heart from the fact that Bagan hasn’t had a good run at the VYBK.

The home team has leaked in 14 goals in 11 games. This defensive frailty can be exploited by Minerva’s young strike-force! William Opoku misses out for Minerva. A tight contest is on cards!

Also Read: HERO I-LEAGUE: East Bengal face stiff Arrows challenge

Also Read: HERO I-LEAGUE: Jamil joins Mohun Bagan as head coach

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