Mohun Bagan are all set to take on East Bengal in the season’s second Kolkata Derby.
However ‘Kolkata’ remains a misnomer like recent times, with Siliguri the venue for the pivotal contest in Indian football, courtesy the Yuba Bharati Krirangan undergoing renovations for the U-17 World Cup.
Yet the excitement for the derby might be muted owing to East Bengal’s poor run of late and internal power tussles, but it’s importance in the title fortunes cannot be overstated and is arguably the most crucial it has been in the last five years of the I-League.
“It’s a very important derby for Mohun Bagan and the result will be significant in terms of winning the league,” said Mohun Bagan skipper Katsumi Yusa.
East Bengal coach Trevor James Morgan said their chances would be effectively over should they lose on Sunday. A win, however, could take them four points clear of Mohun Bagan.
Mohun Bagan have 26 points from 13 games and are third while second-placed East Bengal have 27 from 14. The leaders in this nine-team competition have 30 from 14.
Mohun Bagan began a busy April with successive home wins, against a depleted Bengaluru FC and Abahani Dhaka in the AFC Cup, but to stay relevant in India they will look to glean full points in what is their home game.