Mohun Bagan clash has excited Real Kashmir fans
SRINAGAR: It's Mohun Bagan, I have to be there for tomorrow's game (Sunday). There was excitement in the voice of Mohammad Amin, 65, a former employee of the J&kbank,whilewaitingforhistickettotherealthekashmir-mohunbagangameonsundayoffsite,wasinkolkatain1999asbankermanagerandsawaderbyin
It's not that many people can be on the ground: the Royal Kashmir authorities, as in the last game here, have thrown around 1500 tickets to a stadium that can hold 20,000. Still, the hosts want it to be a memorable occasion, trying to dress the TRC Turf Ground as best they can, even when their team seems determined to make things extremely difficult for Mohun Bagan.
The temperature ranges between 1 and 5 degrees here, since it makes life difficult for the giants of Kolkata. Then there is the additional problem of playing on artificial grass, something they are not used to. Mohun Bagan is a very large team and we have had mixed results with them in the last two years. It will be a difficult game, said Real Kashmir coach David Robertson.
Mohun Bagan knows it too. That's why they came here three days before the game, trying to acclimatize. On Saturday, there was a small discussion between coach Kibu Vicuña and Real Kashmir officials about the time of the allocation of the land for practice, which was then resolved. The main creator of Bagan games, Joseba Beitia, worked for a while with the physio before joining the practice, even though the team's management insisted that there were no fitness problems with the Spanish.
But there is an ace under Bagan's sleeve in the form of Papa Baba Diawara, a former Sevilla striker, who will probably break loose from the start.
While Vicuña says that Dad is a class act even though he doesn't depend too much on Senegalese to get a positive result, Robertson believes that Bagan will definitely be a stronger unit with the new recruit. We will have to be careful with him, he is a player who has played with the best. But it's not that we're too worried, said the Scotsman.
While Bagan's style is the game of short passes, the Real Kashmir team prefers a more direct and long-ball approach. They have a lot of strong players like Baazi Armand, Gnohere Krizo, Kallum Higginbotham and Mason Robertson, in addition to the home boys, which can make it physically extremely difficult for Bagan. Add to that the confidence they have after drawing 1-1 against East Bengal in Kalyani, and they have a team that knows what it takes to face the best against each other.
And don't forget, people here have gone through many things. Success in football gives them a break from that moment, said Kashmir star player Danish Farooq, referring to a Sunday afternoon when Mohun Bagan will savor the resolution of a unit. That is to play for more than a victory on the football field.
Plaza wins Churchill Brothers winner late
Alejandro Menéndez picked up the first I-League Coach of the month award for leading an undefeated East Bengal to the top of the table, but 90 minutes later, he had nothing left to smile at Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Saturday.
Disturbed by his unexpected defeat against Indian Arrows in the previous game, Churchill took advantage of the occasion with Captain Willis Plaza heading home as the only goal of the game at the last minute of regulation time.