Mohun Bagan Super Giant will look to go one step closer to the AFC Cup group stages as they face Nepal side Machhindra FC in their Preliminary Stage Two match at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, in Kolkata, on Wednesday.

The winners will go on to face either Abahani Limited Dhaka of Bangladesh or Club Eagles of the Maldives in the AFC Cup South Zone playoff clash scheduled for August 22. The Mariners will seal their place in the AFC Cup for a third straight season if they win their playoff clash.

In the past two editions of the AFC Cup, Mohun Bagan Super Giant have failed to make it past the inter-zonal semi-finals. In 2021, they were knocked out by Uzbekistan side FC Nasaf and in 2022, by Kuala Lumpur City FC, who finished as runners-up.

Bagan are heading into the game on the back of a defeat in the Kolkata Derby against East Bengal FC in the Durand Cup. Juan Ferrando’s side will be favourites for the clash, given the quality they possess in their squad.

Big-name foreign signings such as Armando Sadiku and Jason Cummings will be expected to play a major role for Mohun Bagan SG, should they reach the AFC Cup group stages. However, Ferrando warned that the duo still need time to adapt to the club despite the expectations around them.

“The players like (Jason) Cummings, Armando (Sadiku) came last week, they need time to adapt. I know everyone is excited about Cummings and Armando. It’s normal. They players need time and are training to work like a team,” he stated in the pre-match press conference.

“Don’t forget, it’s difficult to come to India, the mentality, the culture, a lot of things change. It’s necessary to trust in the process and go step by step.

“Game by game, we will be improve. The most important thing is the process. I’m sure in the next match our performance would be much better,” he further said.

Ferrando was accompanied by defender Anwar Ali, who is among Mohun Bagan SG’s newest recruits. The defender, who previously represented FC Goa in the Indian Super League (ISL), joined the Mariners on a four-year deal in July. The youngster said he was proud about joining a big club like Mohun Bagan SG and hoped to continue his impressive performances.

“It’s dream to play for this club. Every footballer wants to play for this club. I want to play like same, like how I was playing before,” Ali said in the pre-match press conference.

Assessing the upcoming match against Machhindra FC, Ali said his teammates were looking forward to it.

“We are all ready, it will be a big and tough game. Boys are really excited to play this game, we are looking forward,” he signed off.

Telecast Details

Watch the match LIVE on the Facebook Page of Mohun Bagan Super Giant starting from 7 PM onwards.