New Delhi: Defending champions Mohun Bagan will aim to overcome their I-League disappointment with a win over Bengaluru FC in the final of the Federation Cup football tournament, in Cuttack on Sunday.
The winners are guaranteed a berth in next season’s AFC Cup, which will provide added stimulus to the record 14-time champions’ ambitions.
The two teams have faced each other five times in the ongoing season.
Bagan won their last encounter 3-1 in an AFC Cup group leg fixture earlier this week, after playing out a 1-1 draw in the Federation Cup’s group stage last week.
Bengaluru beat I-League champions Aizawl FC 1-0 in the semis, while Bagan downed arch-rivals East Bengal 2-0.
Bagan’s attacking four —Sony Norde, Katsumi Yusa, Balwant Singh and Darryl Duffy — are in form, and will again be their strength. BFC coach Alberto Roca was wary of Bagan’s attacking prowess.
“They have a good attack and we have a good defence. It is important to have a good balance, but we have to be on our toes as they can punish us with the quality upfront,” he said in the official pre-final press conference “Mohun Bagan are favourites to win the Federation Cup and they deserve to be in the final.
“For us, it is important to be in the final and tomorrow we have another opportunity to win a trophy and we have to make the most of it,” Roca added.
BFC will be minus influential skipper Sunil Chhetri and suspended midfielder Cameron Watson.
Mohun Bagan coach Sanjoy Sen said with the I-League slipping from their fingers they would go all out to avoid a trophy-less season.
“We have prepared for it and now we are ready to give our best,” Sen said.
“They have also studied our players, so have we. It is an advantage and a disadvantage of facing a known opponent and since Bengaluru FC are one of the strongest teams in the country, it will be a very competitive final.
“We don’t have any injury concerns, all players are fit and ready to perform,” he added.
Bagan skipper Katsumi Yusa said his team owed supporters the trophy after their failure to win the I-League title which, rather unprecedentedly, went to Mizoram side Aizawl FC. “We have to give our best to win the trophy for our supporters,” he said....