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I-League 2017: Bengaluru FC vs Mohun Bagan Preview: Heavyweights clash to redeem lost points and glory

Goal.com logo Goal.com 10-03-2017

A long wait comes to an end when Bengaluru FC at last host Mohun Bagan in the 2017 I-League in a round fourteen encounter in the Garden City on Saturday.

The matchup has proved to be the marquee clash in the Indian domestic club circuit in the last three seasons and after cancellation of the first leg due to clash of fixtures with Asian competitions, the second leg couldn't have come at a better time just before the international break.

For Bengaluru FC, who returned to winning days last weekend after going eight games winless in the I-League only managed to draw at Chennai City midweek.

Even the recruitment of Marjan Jugovic midway to bolster the attacking arsenal of the Blues failed to fructify in the last two games.

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Albert Roca has switched to a standard 4-3-3 formation after he saw his plans of implementing a three-man defence fail miserably.

Furthermore, both Numero Unos of Bengaluru and Mohun Bagan, Amrinder Singh and Debjit Majumder respectively are unavailable and it will be a real test of the deputies to make their cases for the future.

The Blues will be desperate to keep their faithful interested as they are all but in the title race. The big name players John Johnson and Sunil Chhetri have been far from their best and Eugeneson Lyngdoh still does not find a place in Roca's plans.

Youngsters Daniel Lalhlimpuia and Udanta Singh have to step up as they gave the toughest test in the season so far against title favourites Bagan.

After going nine games unbeaten, the last week has been anything but kind for the Mariners.

A loss at Goa against Churchill Brothers and a last minute equaliser to save the blushes against Mumbai FC at home rounded off a week of lows laden with injuries to Darryl Duffy and Majumder.

The only reason Mohun Bagan lost the trophy last season was because of a shaky and leaky defence and things haven't picked in any way.

The defensive partnership of Eduardo Ferreira and Anas Edathodika has not blossomed as much the Green and Maroons anticipated when they signed. In fact, in only two games the pair have featured in they have managed to keep a clean sheet.

Sanjoy Sen has always been portrayed to get the better of foreign coaches and so he has during the Sen and Ashley Westwood rivalry. The Kolkata giants surprisingly have never lost at the Kanteerava and would hope of taking the first step of emulating their 'double' against Bengaluru last season.

Jeje Lalpekhlua who has been off shadow could lose his place after Balwant Singh's enterprising displays if Darryl Duffy returns to the lineup. It has been the Indian contingent who have been exemplary for Sen's side with Pritam Kotal time and again proving his worth to be the nation's primary right back and Sen does need to give Prabir Das a start as his pace and vision has been the binding unit behind Bagan.

Much is expected out of Sony Norde and he did show some spark in the last game but he needs support to help his cause after injuries has hampered the Haitian ability to spew magic for the Mariners.

Another game where Mohun Bagan drop points could be detrimental to remain in tandem with Aizawl and East Bengal at the top whereas a top three dream would remain intact for the fallen champions.

Gear up as we face the first instalment of what will be four games spread across two competitions in the next two months. For now, the kick-off is at 19:05 p.m. at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Saturday. PREDICTED LINE-UPS

TEAM NEWS

BENGALURU F.C.

Injured: Amrinder Singh, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Rino Anto, Gursimrat Singh Gill, Lalchhuanmawia Fanai

Doubtful: Marjan Jugovic

Suspended: None

Key Players: Cameron Watson, Sunil Chhetri MOHUN BAGAN A.C.

Injured: Debjit Majumder, Raju Gaikwad, Kinshuk Debnath, Pronay Halder, Kean Lewis

Doubtful: None

Suspended: None

Key Players: Sony Norde, Balwant Singh

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