Kolkata, Feb 27: Mohammedan Sporting will be looking to come back to winning ways in Airtel I-League football when they face Sporting Clube de Goa in round 19 at the Salt Lake Stadium here Friday evening.
The teams come into this fixture on the back of contrasting forms as Sporting have lost their last four I-League matches while Sporting Clube are on a five-match unbeaten run.
The respective targets for each side are also completely different as the Kolkata giants are just a point above rock-bottom Rangdajied United while Sporting Clube are very much in the title race as they are three behind league leaders Bengaluru FC with a game in hand.
But instead of focusing on their recent troubles, Sporting will remind themselves of the reverse fixture in Goa back in October. They produced one of their best performances of the season to win 3-1.
Sporting Clube have only been beaten thrice in this season’s I-League so that result for Sporting earlier in the campaign looks even more impressive now.
Sanjoy Sen’s side might have picked up their second trophy of the season during the I-League break in the form of the IFA Shield. But the constant action has taken a lot out of them physically while the Goan club had seven fewer fixtures during the near two-month interval.
After returning from the break, Sporting have suffered back-to-back defeats against Pune FC and Salgaocar, failing to score in both. Sen is well aware that his team can’t afford to let this losing run continue if they want to avoid relegation and must look to win the home fixtures at least.
“We are under pressure now and have to perform well. The comeback should start from the Sporting Clube de Goa match itself,” Sen said.
Second-placed Sporting Clube have played just one match after the break and that ended in a 1-1 draw away at Pune FC. The result could turn out to be a priceless point at the end of the season because Oscar Bruzon’s side were far from their best against Pune.
“During the 90 minutes, we made some mistakes. We were not having control of the ball, but the boys put in everything. So I think a draw is a good result,” the Spanish coach had stated after that game.
Bruzon’s boys will be aiming to send out a message to the other title challengers with an away win while Sporting have the chance to do the double over the Sporting Clube in what promises to be a tight contest despite the contrast in form and league position.