Kolkata, Nov 24 (PTI) Unbeaten so far, title aspirants Mohun Bagan and Churchill Brothers will lock horns in the I-League here on Sunday, with the hosts likely to see the return of Sony Norde.
Both the giants, having played the league for the longest period and having three titles between them, are among two of the three unbeaten teams in this year's league and another win would put them on their way towards being title contenders.
Placed second in the standings, Mohun Bagan have eight points from two wins and two draws while Churchill Brothers are positioned fifth after four matches.
The strikers of both teams have started to fire and it remains to be seen if one buckles or both play out a battle of attrition in front of a large partisan crowd.
Mohun Bagan coach Sankarlal Chakraborty has little to worry about in defence and attack but his midfield has always looked like a work in progress. No doubt he must be building up towards the full repatriation of Sony Norde in that left-wing position but he needs to get more out of his other attacking medios.
"We are concerned about everything including their foreigners who can turn the fate of the match single-handedly on their day," the coach said.
On Norde's chances, he quipped, "Sony is fit but the medical staff will take the final call whether he is ready to play 90 minutes."
Churchill need to get Trinidadian Willis Plaza to keep improving his strike rate. He does get himself to great scoring positions, but his conversion rate still remains below par and the hat-trick in the previous game should give him more confidence.
His combination with Gambian Dawda Ceesay can be lethal and Mohun Bagan's defence, led by Nigerian Eze Kingsley, will have to be on their toes.
Likewise, Churchill need to be wary of the Kisekka-Dicka combination upfront for Bagan. Hussein Eldor and Nenad Novakovic will have their hands full for Churchill as well.
Churchill's Romanian coach Petra Gigiu sounded confident.
"We played four games but the real exam begins now. Yes, we watched a few matches of Mohun Bagan on television. They are strong in every department."
Since the 2000s Mohun Bagan have had the better of the exchanges winning eight to the Goan side's five in head to heads. There have been 10 draws. Mohun Bagan have also been better off in recent encounters winning five of their last six games.
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