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Bagan look to avenge first-leg defeat against spirited NEROCA FC

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

Playing at home and momentum favouring them, would have revenge in mind when they face an in-form NEROCA FC in their clash at the Saltlake Stadium, here Saturday.

It was less than a fortnight ago, suffered a 1-2 defeat against NEROCA in their away fixture before going down to Real at home, leading to the exit of head as the team slipped to sixth place.

Appointed at short notice, got off to a winning start as blanked defending champions 2-0 on Wednesday to keep their title hopes alive.

NEROCA FC on the other hand are on a six-match unbeaten run and defeated Shillong Lajong 3-2 at home in the last round as the Imphal outfit are three points shy of leaders

Last year, in their debut season in the I-League, NEROCA FC finished runners-up. They have continued their rich form and are looking more dangerous.

The inclusion of Aryn Williams, and in the team seems to have changed the mood of the camp as the side plays with more intent and confidence.

For Mohun Bagan, who suffered a defeat to East Bengal in the first leg, the clash against NEROCA will also be a prelude to their return derby clash January 27, as the Mariners will be desperate to maintain their winning run before the high-voltage clash.

The Mariners looked a rejuventated side under Jamil with Aser Dipanda Dicka regaining his shooting boots in his comeback match.

Their looked a livewire in the mid-field, creating opportunities as they completely dominated the defending champions.

"We have to carry on with the confidence from the last match. Everyone have to give 100 per cent. Have to make some changes as we have to play within two matches.

"We got the result we wanted in the last game. We have to do simple things and try to win the match," Jamil said at the match-eve conference.

The former winning Aizawl however cautioned their defence against the attacking Imphal side.

"We have to be defensively strong. They are a good team. We have practiced set-pieces. Players know NEROCA are good in set-pieces. So we have to do well.

"NEROCA have good foreigners and Indian players. They play as a team. Eduardo and Katsumi are great players. I don't think about result. We have to start the matches positively and try to get results," Jamil said.

Spanish of NEROCA FC knows the importance of their clash against Mohun Bagan as a win will take them on par with the table toppers.

"It's a big match for both teams especially for us. They are one of the biggest clubs in We are playing very well now, have improved since first game.

"We have to keep our momentum. They changed coach and now they are more powerful. It is a very hard and tough match tomorrow. I hope we give our best and get the desired result," the 45-year-old said.

The former Aizawl FC tactician further said their their central defender Eduardo has come back strongly after recovering from The Brazilian had scored the opening goal against Mohun Bagan in their 2-1 win in the first leg.

"Now he is playing like a 24-year-old. All the players are working hard. It's not about the coach only but all the players in the squad," he said.

As the business end nears, the table is crammed with any of top six teams in a mathematical equation to win the title.

"It doesn't matter when we play a team, now or later. This year the title race is very tough. Chennai are there, EB and MB are pressurising. is there. We are fighting with big clubs. This season is very difficult," he said.

Recalling his goal against Mohun Bagan, Eduardo said: "I was glad to score against big club like MB. Tomorrow we go again. I didn't celebrate last game as I respect MB. But on the field we will give our best and try to win.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, January 11 2019. 15:30 IST