Sporting challenge for confident Bagan in I-League

Margao, Jan 18 (IANS) Mohun Bagan are confident that they can carry on their form from their previous match, when they beat third place Chruchill Brothers, in their crucial I-League clash against Sporting Clube de Goa at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, Thursday.

Mohun Bagan beat Churchill Brothers 3-2 and the team is now looking to capitalise on the positives.

‘We have to be careful. We cannot afford to take Sporting Clube for granted since they are playing at home and are known to be a competitive team. We cannot lose points for sure, but it’s a match where we can pocket a win as well,’ said Mohun Bagan technical director Subrata Bhattacharya.

Mohun Bagan relied overwhelmingly on mercurial striker Odafe Okolie’s hat-trick to edge out Churchill and the visitors will hope for a similar performance from the Nigerian striker. Brazilian striker Jose Ramirez Barreto also played an influential role in the team’s last win.

Sporting Clube stay aware of Mohun Bagan’s threat but are quietly confident that they can manage an upset of sorts. Sporting have four points from the last two matches after a torrid run in seven games.

‘It’s our home match so obviously we have an advantage. We know what we intend to do against Bagan,’ said Sporting Clube technical director Alex Alvares.

Alvares is expected to field the same squad that won against Pailan Arrows, and although the scoreline suggests Sporting Clube only managed a 3-2 victory, Alvares was quick to point out that they were the dominant side throughout.

‘We missed innumerable chances. The second half was totally dominated by us and Pailan were lucky not to lose by a bigger margin,’ he said.

Sporting Clube have 17 points from 14 matches while Mohun Bagan are placed fourth with 27 points from 14 matches.