A record-breaking 13-match unbeaten run stamping their total dominance this season, a rampaging Mohun Bagan will look to beat Aizawl FC and clinch the I-League title with four rounds to go, on Tuesday.
After East Bengal's win over Real Kashmir on Monday in Srinagar, Mohun Bagan just need a win against former champions to win their second I-League title in five years. The Kolkata giants are the undisputed leaders with 36 points from 15 matches.
Mohun Bagan just need a win against former champions to win their second I-League title in five years. (Image: Mohun Bagan /Facebook)
They have 13 points more than second-placed Punjab FC (23 from 15 matches) and they just need a win against Aizwal who are at ninth position with 16 points from 14 matches. A win for Mohun Bagan at the Kalyani Stadium on Tuesday will also make this I-League season different from earlier few editions when the title was decided in the final or penultimate round.
Mohun Bagan head coach Kibu Vicuna, however, sought to play down the prospect of clinching the title on Tuesday itself. "We are not too bothered about all the talk (of title). We know that if we play to our best, it will come today or tomorrow," he said. "We respect Aizawl and are aware of the form they are bringing in to the game tomorrow. They have very good players and fight all the way through. We must guard against complacency and look to play to our strengths. If we do that, we believe we could achieve our objectives," he added.
Much has changed since these two sides met in the league opener, which had resulted in a dour goal-less draw at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium in Aizawl (Image: Mohun Bagan/Twitter)
The home side have not done too many things wrong over the past 12 weeks. Their Spanish trio of Fran Gonzalez, Fran Morante and Joseba Beitia have been delivering game after game and Senegalese striker Papa Diawara has scored in eight games on the trot.
Much has changed since these two sides met in the league opener, which had resulted in a dour goal-less draw at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium in Aizawl, over three months back. The fact that Mohun Bagan are on the verge of their second I-League title and Aizawl are fighting relegation at the business end of the competition underlines the different trajectories the two clubs' fortunes had taken, post that league opener.
Aizawl's head coach Stanley Rozario said, "They drew with Chennai City in their last match and the pressure is on Mohun Bagan now. My players are ready to take them on and looking forward for a positive result and take something out of it. In football, everything is possible." Aizawl have come into Tuesday's match after picking eight points from their last five games. But what will make Aizawl's task daunting will be the fact that Mohun Bagan have the strongest defence in the league, having conceded just 13 in their 15 games so far.