Dhaka, May 30 (IANS) Mohun Bagan and Dhaka Abahani Limited will lock horns in an inconsequential AFC Cup Group E match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium here on Wednesday.
Both sides are out of the competition and will play for pride. While Bagan are third in the four-team group table with six points from five matches, Dhaka Abahani are rock-bottom having just three points from five outings.
Sanjoy Sen’s away side, who lost to Bengaluru FC 0-2 in the Federation Cup final and weeks earlier finished second in the I-League behind surprise winners Aizawl FC, will be without star marksman Haitian Sony Norde who did not travel with the team.
In the previous meeting of the two sides at the Rabindra Sarovar Stadium, Bagan won 3-1 courtesy goals from Balwant Singh, Norde and Jeje Lalpekhlua.
The AFC Cup has never been Bagan’s priority and many a times Sen has fielded second string sides in the group league matches.
“I’m a bit relaxed now. We will try our best to grab three points from the game and the boys are motivated,” Sen told reporters in Kolkata before travelling to Dhaka.
Bagan failed to win a single trophy this season despite coming close on two occassions. Darryl Duffy, their scottish striker, expressed disappointment.
“I can’t forget the goal I missed at Aizawl. That still pricks me all the time. But Mohun Bagan will remain special to me because this has been the best team I have played so far in India,” Duffy said.
“If they want to retain me, I am ready to play. But right now the future of Indian leagues are in a lot of doubt. We just have to wait and see,” Duffy added.
Meanwhile In Group E, recently-crowned Federation Cup champions Bengaluru FC will have to win against table toppers Maziya Sports & Recreation of Maldives in order to qualify for the next stage from the group.
Bengaluru are second with nine points from five games while Maziya have 12 in their kitty from five ties.