The 2014/15 edition of I League is all set for a photo finish as the crown will be decided on the last day when defending champions Bengaluru FC and Kolkata Giants & league leaders Mohun Bagan square off at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore.

The last time the two sides met in the reverse fixture at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, Bengaluru FC were handed a 4-1 drubbing by the Mariners. Haitian international Sony Norde scored a brace as the Sanjoy Sen came from a goal down to beat Bengaluru FC. The JSW side go into the match knowing that nothing less than a win would get them the title while a draw should be enough for Mohun Bagan who are looking to end their trophy drought and bring a smile on the face of their fans. The two wily tacticians Sanjoy Sen and Ashley Westwood would be looking to get their tactics spot on in this crucial encounter. The match brings with it several key and interesting batlles and it is the result of several individual battles which could decide which team is crowned the Champions of Indian.

Sony Norde & Katsumi Yusa V Rino Anto & Lalchhuan Mawia


16 of the 32 goals Bagan have scored this season have come from Haitian international Sony Norde and Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa. The duo have displayed tremendous work rate and have led the team from the front with Norde in particular having earned 4 man of the match awards . While Balwant Singh starts as the target man upfront, Norde and Yusa start on the left and the right wing respectively. Both Norde and Yusa have a tendency to cut in from the wings and score goals as was demonstrated by Norde even in the last match against Sporting Club de Goa when he cut in from the left and scored the second goal. The duo will be up against Rino Anto and Lalchhuan Mawia, the right and left full backs of Bengaluru FC. Anto and Mawia have been performed will consistently and have earned a spot in the national team camp on basis of their performances. The Garden City based team likes to play from the wings which sees Anto and Mawia overlap from the right and left. This could prove dangerous against the likes of Norde and Yusa who have troubled almost all I League sides with their pace and trickery. Rino Anto missed the reverse fixture of this time and in his absence Sony Norde created havoc on the left flank and was the prime reason behind Bagan’s 4-1 win. While Anto and Mawia have played important role for Bagan going forward and have earned numerous assists, they will have to keep their defensive duties in mind against Bagan.

Eugeneson Lyngdoh & Joshua Walker V Pierre Boya & Sehnaj Singh

It is often in the center of the park that most of the big matches are decided and this match is no different as the duo of Eugeneson Lyngdoh & Joshua Walker will vie with the duo of Pierre Boya & Sehnaj Singh in the middle third of the pitch. Both the marquee players – Joshua Walker and Pierre Boya have settled well in the team after their initial criticism and both play critical roles in the team. Eugeneson Lyngdoh has been the best player in the I League this season and the 28 year old playmaker has played almost all games in the I League and the AFC Cup this season for the Blues. Eugeneson’ role of a playmaker in played by 32 year old former Cameroon international Pierre Boya for Mohun Bagan who plays in a withdrawn role linking the trio of Balwant, Norde and Katsumi. Eugeneson and Boya are the fulcrum on which Bengaluru and Bagan play and the chances the duo creates for their respective team will play a key role in deciding which way the match goes. Joshua Walker and Sehnaj Singh are the defensive midfielders in their team and will be entrusted with the tasks of breaking up the opponent team’ s attacks. Sehnaj’ s role in particular will be important as he will be up against Eugeneson who is also the top scorer for Bengaluru FC this season with six goals. Walker as has been the case for most of the season, will form a defensive screen ahead of the back four and will be looking to neutralize Boya.

Sunil Chhetri V Pritam Kotal

Bengaluru FC have missed a leader in the final third this season with the duo of Sunil Chhetri and Sean Rooney combining for just six of the 34 goals that the Men of Steel have scored this season in the I League. Sunil Chhetri in particular will be looking to prove a point as his domestic form took a nose dive after a blistering start in the Federation Cup where he scored six times. Chhetri is a big match player and he was rested by Westwood in the AFC round of 16 match against South China with an eye on this match. He will be looking to get on the scoresheet and inspire his team to a title win in this crucial win. Playing on the left side of the attack, Chhetri will be up against Pritam Kotal, a promising right back who has broken into the Indian team with his exploits at Mohun Bagan for the last two season. Kotal has displayed immense maturity for his young age and is an indispensable member of the Bagan side. Kotal has also contributed offensively and has two goals to his name. Against Bengaluru however he will have to be cautious going forward as that might give space and time to Chhetri to cut in from the left.

Bagan had a stellar start to the season and looked to be comfortably on their way to winning the title but a minor blip in form towards the end coupled with Bengaluru FC’ s resurgence brought the defending champions back into the race. Statistically as well there is little to choose between the two sides – Bagan have scored 32 compared to Bengaluru’ s 34 while Bagan have conceded 15 in comparison to 18 conceded by Bengaluru. Both Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan have played an attacking brand of football throughout the season and both go into the match with an equal chance of lifting the I League trophy.

We leave you with the highlights of the reverse fixture played earlier in the season