I-League: Mohun Bagan to play for pride against struggling Gokulam (Preview)

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Kolkata, Jan 29 (IANS) Their slim chances of getting back into title reckoning now almost gone, a deflated Mohun Bagan will look to salvage pride when they take on relegation-threatened Gokulam Kerala FC in an I-League encounter at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Wednesday.

Mohun Bagan suffered their second successive derby defeat on Sunday against arch-rivals East Bengal in a match where they were totally outplayed.

Khalid Jamil’s men, placed sixth in the points table having 21 points from 14 games, will now look to gather the maximum points from the remaining fixtures and finish in a respectable position. They are nine points adrift of league leaders Chennai City FC.

“We are not thinking about the past. The last match was not up to the mark, but we must go ahead,” Jamil told reporters here.

Asked about the club’s target now, Jamil said: “We will take one match a time. I can’t think too far ahead now. All I can say is tomorrow’s match is very important.”

Jamil conceded that East Bengal were the “hungrier” side on Sunday and they need to learn from their mistakes.

“It’s not difficult to motivate the players. They are professionals and are ready for tomorrow’s game.

“East Bengal were the hungrier side. We should learn from the next game and move on.”

Mohun Bagan will be without star midfielder Yuta Kinowaki who suffered a calf injury minutes before the derby kick-off.

Sukhdev Singh and Sourav Das are also doubtful for the Gokulam tie while defender Arijit Bagui and midfielder Shilton D’Silva are expected to start.

Coming to the visitors, Gokulam are currently in the tenth position with 11 points from 13 matches. They have won only two matches this season and have been subject to several changes in the middle of the season.

After Antonio German, defender Fabrizio Ortiz left the club midway through the season.

There was also an addition in the coaching department as Gift Raikhan left Aizawl FC to join the Southern club as their technical director.

“We are fighting for relegation. So the motivation is high. We need three points very badly,” Raikhan told reporters.

Raikhan brought in former Neroca FC midfielder Fabien Vorbe in place of Ortiz.

The Haitian central midfielder has already joined the side and has travelled with the team to Kolkata to face Mohun Bagan.

After Raikhan came on board, Gokulam managed a 1-1 draw against defending champions Minerva Punjab in their last match.

In their last meeting, Gokulam managed to hold Mohun Bagan to a 1-1 draw in their first match of the season in Kozhikode.



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