With their place in the top-six on the line, Mohammedan Sporting will face a tough challenge in form of the unbeaten Real Kashmir at the Saltlake Stadium in Kolkata tomorrow, February 28.
The kick-off is slated for 2pm IST and the match will be broadcasted on the 1Sports channel, whilst being streamed live on the 1Sports Facebook page.
Mohammedan Sporting broke their two-match losing streak as they beat Chennai City thanks to a last-gasp winner from Suraj Rawat. The Black Panthers sit in sixth place with 13 points from nine games. With Aizawl FC closing behind them, new coach Sankarlal Chakraborty’s team will have to do what no team has achieved this season — beat the unbeaten Real Kashmir to confirm their place in the top-six.
Speaking at the virtual pre-match press conference, head coach Sankarlal Chakraborty said, “Winning matches is a confidence booster. We have been in a winning mood and it’s now a matter of consolidating the winning spirit. There were numerous goal-scoring possibilities that we could have utilized, but that’s football, and the most important thing is the win.”
“The game against Real Kashmir is a determining factor to our future in the league and we are aware of what is expected of us. I always tell the players to focus on the match but not on the league table. We prefer to go match by match and it will be the same against them (Real Kashmir).”
“Real Kashmir plays a very good brand of football and they are quick. It is going to be a nice match because they are also highly technical. I have nothing but respect for them. It is going to be a tight match but we will make sure that we implement our game plan and see how they respond,” Sankarlal said.
Defender Sujit Sadhu, who was also present at the presser, said, “We’re preparing for Real Kashmir and not for a player. Lukman is, of course, a very good striker and a danger to us but we also have players of great quality. We need to focus on the duties our coach gives us, either in attacking or defending situations. We have to work together. If we are able to do this according to our plan, we can get a positive result.”
He added on his goal-scoring exploits, “It felt good getting on the score sheet. I am hoping that I can score more. I want to make a positive contribution towards helping the team achieve its goal.”
Real Kashmir confirmed their spot in the top six of the I-League table with a 3-1 victory over Aizawl FC. The Snow Leopards sit second on the standings with 17 points, 2 short of toppers Churchill Brothers. Despite achieving top-six spot, David Robertson will push his side to reduce the gap on the top with a win, considering that points from both the phases will be counted together to determine the I-League champion.
Speaking at the virtual pre-match press conference, head coach David Robertson said, “It was great to win the game fighting from a goal down, but I was disappointed that we conceded the goal. Sometimes, things go against the team, but we seem to keep overcoming them and get stronger with every game we play.”
“There is no margin for error as we have 5 games left after this game. We got to focus on our philosophy and see where it takes us. Mohammedan have had an inconsistent season, but they have quality players. We know they will be fired up because it is a must-win game for them. They are a difficult opponent to play, and we got to be at our best,” the Scottish manager added.
Midfielder Pratesh Shirodkar has been a key figure for Real Kashmir in the midfield, appearing in all of the matches so far. He said, “The win against Aizawl FC was vital. It has given the players a major boost of positivity in our title-challenge. We have worked really hard for the team, and for the fans back in Kashmir. We have a good squad who are supported by the staff so that we can win the title.”