After picking up a morale-boosting 3-0 win over fellow newly-promoted side Rangdajied United in the previous round, Mohammedan Sporting will be keen to continue the momentum when they take on fellow Kolkata side United Sports Club at the Salt Lake Stadium on Thursday evening.
Mohammedan Sporting will rely on their striker Tolgay Ozbey (R) for goals in their I-League game against United Sports Club
United SC are currently in fourth and lie just five points off league leaders Bengaluru FC, and coach Eelco Schattorie will be confident of his side closing the gap at the top with three points against Mohammedans.
Schattorie returns to the dugout after serving a two-match suspension but has plenty of injury and unavailability issues to worry about ahead of the match.
Mohammed Rafique is missing due to personal reasons, while Tapan Maity and Lalkamal Bhowmich are out through injury. Sangram Mukherjee, Souvik Chakraborty and Ishan Debnath only just returned to the squad after playing matches for their respective office teams, something that Schattorie is extremely irked about.
"The preparation has been very difficult," Schattorie told Goal.com. "Five players' office job made it impossible to train on the tactical mistakes of the last game.
"Rafique again not present, Souvik comes on the day of the game, both of whom are U-23 players. This forces me to let U-18 Biswajit (Biswas) start in the lineup and adjust the system as (CK) Vineeth and Biswajit both are strikers. I am very frustrated with preparation for this game."
Mohammedan Sporting, in 11th with three points from four matches, have looked to bolster their side after a difficult start with Syed Rahim Nabi, Ishfaq Ahmed, Mehrajuddin Wadoo and Manish Maithani all signing for the Kolkata side. The players, who had initially joined up with the IMG-Reliance league, signed earlier this week, although Thursday's game might come too early for them.
The onus will be on Tolgay Ozbey, who helped Mohammedan Sporting to their first win of the season, and the Australian will look to continue to improve the fledgling partnership with Josimar Silva.
"We play in Kolkata against United Sports Club," Mohammedans coach Moshood said. "That is our home game. We had three away games in a row -- two losses and one win which is OK. So we'll look to capitalise on our win and try to do better."
Where to watch
The game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. IST kickoff on Thursday with live coverage on Ten Action.
Expected lineups: Mohammedan Sporting: Ashok Singh, Masih, Hembram, Sangha, Stephen, Soren, Paite, Abranches, Zirsanga, Josimar, Ozbey.
United SC: Mukherjee, Dhanachandra, Rasaq, Sarkar, Mandal, Jayanta Sen, Brown, Vineeth, Kottayil, Biswas, Martins.
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