AFC Cup qualifiers: Mohun Bagan target playoffs spot against Colombo FC on home soil
Mohun Bagan will look to confirm their Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup playoffs spot when they host Sri Lanka's Colombo FC in the second leg
Kolkata: Mohun Bagan will look to confirm their Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup playoffs spot when they host Sri Lanka's Colombo FC in the second leg on Tuesday.
The Kolkata giants have already put one foot on the playoffs with a 2-1 win away in the first leg of the preliminary qualifying round.
Their target will be to get the entire job done at the Rabindra Sarovar Stadium.
It was not smooth sailing in Colombo for the Indian heavyweights as a late winner from midfielder Sehnaj Singh handed them an important away win.
Colombo however dominated the proceedings in patches, with their three foreign recruits putting up a fine performance.
The likes of Momas Yapo controlled the midfield, while Olayemi was assured at the defence and Afees Olayemi scored their only goal after trailing 0-1 early in the first half.
But their unavailability due to visa issues has come as a body blow for the tourists who are aiming to pull off an upset over their fancied rivals.
"It has been really hard as I have been forced to put together a new plan," head coach Mohamed Roomy was quoted as saying by Thepapare.com on Monday.
"The three players play a vital role in defence, midfield and attack. Now I will have to replace them in a short period of time. However I have players who have played in those roles and will fit in nicely," he added.
Their opponents' plight puts Bagan on a strong footing since they have an added advantage of paying at their home ground.
They will be without the services of defender Kingshuk Debnath who injured himself in their last I-League game against Aizawl FC.
Bagan are presently second in the I-League table, undefeated in six matches, winning five of them.
The winner of the preliminary round will feature in another double-legged play-off match before qualifying for the main round of the continent's second-tier club competition.
The 22-year-old insisted he is just getting started after a year in which he helped the Blues win the Champions League and England reach a first major tournament final since 1966.
Eight players from the original 23-member contingent have been dropped for T20 World Cup 2021.
General Naravane meets Sri Lanka's top military leadership during four-day visit aimed at boosting defence ties
The army chief's visit will culminate with him witnessing the final demonstration of the ongoing bilateral 'Mitra Shakti' exercise being held at Maduru Oya Special Forces Training School