India’s Mohun Bagan will seek to fly the tricolour high in the Maldivian Capital of Male, when they play Club Valencia in the first leg of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup South Zone playoff round, today.The kickoff is from 4 30 PM IST onwards.
This is the final hurdle for either club before they are allotted a place in the group stages of Asia’s second-tier continental competition.
They beat Colombo FC home and away on their path to squaring off against Club Valencia and a win against the Maldivian opposition, versus whom they hold a strong record, will be tantamount for the Bengali gaffer. Speaking about Sen, he isn’t expected to grace the sidelines due to personal reasons, leaving Shankarlal Chakraborty, his assistant, in charge.
Sony Norde is another big absentee for The Maroon and Green Brigade, as he rests a torn meniscus despite playing the full 90 minutes versus the Reds of Maharashtra. Balwant Singh’s return to goal scoring form with a brace versus the Shivajians will have eased the concern over the impending absence of their Haitian dynamo. Bagan will also miss the services of Debjit Majumder, Pronay Halder, Pritam Kotal, Souvik Chakraborty and Jeje Lalpekhlua who haven’t travelled to Male.
The last time Bagan played a Maldivian team at the National stadium, Male, the spoils were shared in a 1-1 draw versus Maziya Sports Club. This time, however, the sails will firmly be employed on the Mariners’ deck as they look to eclipse the Sunrisers’ hopes in the first tie itself, before making the second leg a formality.