Durand Cup 2019: Mohammedan, Navy Lock Horns In Survival Battle

KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club will have an opportunity to turn things around and forget their unlucky loss in the hands of Mohun Bagan when they face Indian Navy in their second Durand Cup Group B fixture on Saturday at Mohun Bagan Ground, kick-off 3 PM.

Although the opening day did not generate the desired result, Mohammedan coach Subrata Bhattacharya pointed quickly to the silver linings in the 2-0 defeat with one eye on the challenges and the possibilities ahead.

“I think there are a lot of positives in that game and we need to take those,” Bhattacharya said. “Obviously, there is even more hunger toward the second game now because we are with our backs against the wall. We have two games remaining and they are like two finals for us.”

Most of those positives stemmed from how Mohammedan functioned on the ball. They enjoyed the advantage in possession and moved the ball precisely in the middle third only to lack cutting edge in the final third.

Bhattacharya has praised his players for their application and diligence as they attempted to break down Mohun Bagan, but he also underscored the need for more incisiveness in the final third in their second encounter.

The circumstances plus the prospect of playing against a Navy side who predicated on solidity first and foremost, increase the need to create more opportunities from the run of play.

“The Navy will be very difficult opponents, they play a possession game and they hold the ball well. The key to the match will be the midfield, we need to win the ball in those areas. We talked with the boys about the importance of this game, we need to be confident and we must win otherwise our tournament is over,” Bhattacharya observed.

Navy, on the other hand, may feel that they failed to do themselves justice in their opening match and are eager to give a better account of themselves this time around.

Navy took an early lead against ATK but struggled to hold onto it despite some sustained periods of possession, and will need to deliver up front against Mohammedan if they too want to remain in the hunt.

Coach Abhilash Nair couldn’t hide his disappointment following his side’s draw against ATK, and knows it will not get any easier against the Black Panthers, but he believes his side is more than capable of causing an upset.

He says his side will approach every game on its merit, and together with the team’s assistant coach Antony Abraham, they will make the necessary adjustments. And he is confident they will come up with a winning formula against Mohammedan.

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