I-League: Mohammedan Sporting search for critical victory against Real Kashmir (preview)

Mohammedan Sporting will look for a critical victory when they go head-to-head against high-flying Real Kashmir in their Hero I-League 2022-23 match at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan, here on Friday.

The encounter will have supreme importance for the hosts, who currently sit in the lower half of the points table, as they aim to get their season finally going and be among the teams competing at the top of the table.

The Black and White Brigade have lost all four away games so far and saw their perfect win record at home come to an end in their last game against Mumbai Kenkre after a 2-2 draw. A win against a strong Real Kashmir side could just be the shot in the arm the team needs, while a defeat could further dent their title hopes.

On the other hand, the Snow Leopards had a flying start to the season, winning five and drawing one match. However, they suffered their first loss of the campaign in their last fixture against RoundGlass Punjab FC, which also saw two of their defenders — Akashdeep Singh and Lamine Moro — sent off and therefore unavailable for selection on Friday.

A victory against Mohammedan would guarantee their place back on the top of the standings as we get closer to the halfway point of the season.

The two teams have faced off thrice in the past I-League editions, with Mohammedan winning two games and Real Kashmir one. Their last meeting in April earlier this year saw the Black and White Brigade pick up a 3-1 victory in Kalyani.

At the pre-match press conference, Mohammedan assistant coach Joseph Naik stated that the team is working hard to get back to the levels that are expected of them.

“It is critical to get the three points tomorrow and we can’t afford to lose. We will work hard and fight for it. We are determined to make a comeback and show the quality of play that this club is known for. The match is going to be one of the toughest as Real Kashmir are joint-top of the table, but we are working together as a team and trying to stay composed and motivated,” Naik said.

Star forward Marcus Joseph, who scored one and assisted another in the last game, said, “Tomorrow’s match will be very intense and competitive. It is very important for us to get the three points. Real Kashmir are a tough opposition and fight till the very end. We need to stay together as a unit and go for the victory.”

On the other hand, Real Kashmir head coach Mehrajuddin Wadoo mentioned that his team is not thinking too much about their current league position.

“The competition is open and long. We are happy to be among the leaders but also know that it is very difficult to maintain and what it takes to do so. The match against Mohammedan will be hard but at the same time, we are in a positive space as a team,” said Wadoo.

“We will miss two defenders due to suspension but for me, each player is important and it is a good chance for those who play tomorrow to prove themselves. We will go in with our usual approach and try to get the best possible result,” he added.

Goalkeeper Sanjiban Ghosh said, “We have understood what the coach expects from us and we will go for all three points. It’s good to get clean sheets and we hope to keep doing so in our coming games.”

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