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AFC Cup 2017 Preview: Maziya S&RC vs Mohun Bagan: Must win for Mariners to remain in continental contention

Goal.com logo Goal.com 02-05-2017
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The second phase of the 2017 AFC Cup Group E fixtures kick-start with Maziya Sports & Recreation Club [Maldives] hosting Mohun Bagan [India] at the National Stadium in Male on Wednesday. Hosts Maziya S&RC have been nothing short of clinical in their previous three matches with the only loss coming against table-toppers Bengaluru FC, that too courtesy a late winner from John Johnson. Both Mohun Bagan and Abahani Limited have tasted defeats when they have come against the Green Boys. The Kolkata giants renew their rivalry again two weeks after being beaten 1-0 at home - their first ever defeat at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium. The Maldivian champions will be without Montenegrin Milos Kovacevic whose two yellow cards within the span of four minutes against Mohun Bagan last game sees him suspended for the tie. In some good news, Imaaz Ahmed has recovered and so has Andre-Alexandru Cordos, who was pulled out of the playing eleven at the last moment against Bagan. Head coach Marjan Sekulovski downplayed any signs of complacency given the nature of the previous result. The Macedonian said, "This is not a crucial match because the remaining two games will also bear three points each. But we know we are going to play possibly one of the best clubs in the subcontinent and we have to be aware of that." Mohun Bagan, on the other hand, come off a damning two weeks where they managed to finish yet another season behind the I-League winners by just a point. The loss against Aizawl FC three days later the loss against Maziya at home meant they washed their hands off the league title. Even AFC Cup glory seems a distant possibility now that only one team qualifies to the next round and Bagan are a whopping six points behind leaders Bengaluru at nine. Each game from now will be a must-win and even 12 points would not provide the safety blanket for progression. The Green and Maroon brigade have almost lost hope as they have rested most of their key players for this game as they look ahead to the Federation Cup, where they could start afresh. Only Katsumi Yusa and Jeje Lalpekhlua would be the star names for the Mariners who would guarantee a start on Wednesday evening. PREDICTED LINE-UPS MAZIYA S&RC TEAM NEWS Injured: None Suspended: Milos Kovacevic Doubtful: None Key Players: Asadhulla Abdulla, Aleksandar Rakic MOHUN BAGAN TEAM NEWS Rested: Debjit Majumder, Pritam Kotal, Anas Edathodika, Eduardo Ferreira, Sehnaj Singh, Sony Norde, Balwant Singh, Darryl Duffy Injured: Pronay Halder, Subhasish Bose Doubtful: None Key Players: Jeje Lalpekhlua, Katsumi Yusa

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