THE MOHUN BAGAN TEAM is keen to shake off the loss to Maziya in AFC Cup last night as they prepare to face Aizawl FC in a winner-takes-all I-League title decider clash.
After the loss, head coach Sanjoy Sen was full of praise for his all-Indian starting line-up who kept up a good fighting pace throughout the match,
"It was a great effort on their part. We made many changes, and so many of the players had not played a competitive game in a long time. But the way they took on their opponents and kept trying till the final whistle made me feel they are not the second team at all. They played like they deserved a chance."
The loss to Maziya was the first time Mohun Bagan faced a defeat in Kolkata with Sanjoy Sen in the bench. The veteran coach, however, appeared unphased by the loss,
"We lost to Bengaluru FC in AFC Cup. See how we performed in the next four I-League matches... this game is in the past now, all our focus is on the match against Aizawl FC."
With most key players rested in the Maziya game, Sanjoy Sen did not waste a single day in getting back to the preparations for the pivotal title decider. The team flew to Aizawl early in the morning and held a practice session in the afternoon at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium just before the sun went down in the Mizoram capital.
In order to maintain full focus on the match, the team has also entered a lockdown. The coach and team management are trying hard to keep the players separate from the media and the traveling fans. A gag order has been issued to players not to speak to the press, and fans, especially those staying in the same hotel as the team, have been requested to keep their distance from the players.
Mohun Bagan won the title dramatically in 2014-15. Last season they came close but failed to defend their crown. This season they see an opportunity and they are desperate to grab it in what will be a highly challenging contest for them given Aizawl FC's stellar home form this season.