Coimbatore: Languishing at the ninth place in a disappointing season so far, defending champions Chennai City FC will have a tough task at hand when they face leaders Mohun Bagan in an I-League match here on Friday.
Chennai City were undefeated against Mohun Bagan last season with a 3-1 win at home before snatching a 1-1 away draw in Kolkata. But the story is different this time and a struggling Chennai City have just two wins from seven games as the I-League season approaches its half-way mark.
In contrast, Mohun Bagan are in the midst of a seven-game unbeaten run and have lost just one match out of nine.
The form of the Kolkata giants have been impressive this season with six wins and on top in all key aspects of the game. They have scored maximum goals (17), conceded least (7) and have kept five clean sheets, three more than the next team on that count.
Speaking before the match, Chennai City attacker Adolfo 'Fito' Miranda said he side can still beat a top side like Mohun Bagan.
"I believe the team has had one last defeat after the good away win against Gokulam Kerala where the team had shown much improvement. The beautiful thing about football is that we have a chance again to win against Mohun Bagan and we have shown what we believe in. We hope to give our best and be able to win the match to gradually get closer to the top half of the table," he said.
Head coach Akbar Nawas will be worried about his team's defence which has conceded 12 goals so far. In the previous game against East Bengal which Chennai City lost 0-2, their defenders were under enormous pressure.
Given Mohun Bagan's attacking options in former La Liga striker Baba Diawara, Spanish creative midfielder Joseba Beitia and attacking left-winger Nongdamba Naorem as well as Fran Gonzales, Chennai will have to have a more organised defence line.
Chennai City have bolstered their attacking options, bringing in Swiss forward Jan Mizunga, who made his debut in the East Bengal game and the home side will be hoping he will have a greater impact during Friday' match than he had in the last match.
Mohun Bagan head coach Kibu Vicuna said, "Chennai City are the defending champions. They have a good team, who pass the ball around with good composure. They have a group of good players. It is going to be a very difficult game for us.