Bashundhara Kings in last practice before facing Mohun Bagan. Photo: BuffetWhen Bashundhara Kings, the Bangladesh League champions, got visas to India just a day before they went to play in Bhubaneswar in the last week of last month. Bashundhara informed AFC about Mohun Bagan’s non-cooperation due to delay in getting visa. They drew 2-2 with Mohun Bagan on the field without any practice.
However, Mohun Bagan had no problem coming to Bangladesh. After six years with time on their hands, the traditional Indian club received good hospitality in Bangladesh. Got practice time. Bashundhara does not want to make this Mohun Bagan on the field even if there is no gap in the hospitality. They want to beat Mohun Bagan for the first time in their own field today and get to the top of the points table.
Mohun Bagan tops the AFC Cup ‘D’ group with 7 points from three matches. Bashundhara is second with 4 points. Today, if they beat the Indian club in their own field, they have a chance to climb to the top of the points table, but if they lose, Bashundhara’s chances of playing in the regional semi-finals once again will diminish. In a sense, today’s match is like the final for Bashundhara. Although it seems difficult to beat Mohun Bagan, Bashundhara coach Oscar Bruzon wants to do it in his own field.
Oscar said at the press conference yesterday, ‘Our fourth match, the group is open. In the current state of the group, the team can go up or down depending on the results. We are looking forward to playing hard-fought football and topping the group. We know what kind of team Mohun Bagan is, their strength, their current position in ISL and AFC Cup. We will have home advantage. You also say that they are probably the best team in South Asia; They play in the most competitive league in the region.’
Sheikh Morsalin, banned for liquor scandal, is returning to the field with the Mohun Bagan match. Bashundhara drew with Mohun Bagan without five footballers in Bhubaneswar. Oscar wants to win today’s fight with the foreigners in the team, ‘Mohun Bagan also has some issues with the players, we have too. But I think I have a good team. We have never suffered from the absence of anyone, especially local players. The rest of the team are also great, they can fill that space, they can adapt. Those who are abroad will be with the locals, I think there is a good combination in the team.
Mohun Bagan conceded the least 3 goals among the four teams in ‘D’ group. The team’s defense is the best among the four teams in the group. Due to injury, Mohun Bagan could not bring one of the team’s best defender Anwar Ali to Dhaka. Bashundhara’s Brazilian captain Robson Robinho thinks Mohun Bagan’s strength will not decrease even if Anwar is not there, ‘I think it’s good for us if he (Anwar) doesn’t play. But he is not alone, there are many other players in the opposing team, we have to play as a team against them.’