Pune, Oct 27 (IANS) It's probably going to be the most important match both Air India and Mohun Bagan have played so far this season in the I-League football.
Having lost both the matches, the teams will now hope to return to the winning ways when the two meet in a third round match at the Balewadi Stadium, here, Sunday.
Both the teams know that if they have to stay in the fight for the title, this is the time deliver the goods.
Air India, who played their opening match without the newly-appointed coach Godfrey Pereira, want to keep their approach positive for the match against the Kolkata giants.
"We have been motivating the players. And also we are trying to keep our approach positive," said Pereira. Air India lost to Pailan Arrows 0-2 and then Prayag United thumped the Airmen 5-0.
"Our strategy in the previous matches did not work. So, for tomorrow's match, we are taking a different approach. Earlier, we were mainly playing attacking football. But now we will have be careful about our defence as well. We should not let our opponent take early lead. That's important. But then, we can't be overtly defensive either," he said.
Air India and Mohun Bagan had last met in the Federation Cup in last September, when the 10-men Airmen won 1-0.
This win, according to the Air India coach, is a major motivation for Sunday's game. Pereira said, "It was a great win for us. We were just 10 men on the field that day. It was a great achievement for us and definitely a plus point for us tomorrow."
"Mohun Bagan are a very good team. They have changed a lot. They have got a new coach now, who is brilliant," he further added.
"However we are trying to be focused. There will be no changes in the team for tomorrow's match and we have no injure issues," the coach said.
On the other hand, Bagan have also lost their first two matches. In their first match against Shillong Lajong, Bagan failed to score even a single goal before losing 0-2. In the second match, Prayag United beat Bagan 2-1.
Balewadi being Air India's second home ground, the airmen would like to make most of the home advantage.
Tolgay Ozbey, who had a much talked-about transfer from East Bengal to Mohan Bagan earlier this season, is yet to click, and his striker partner Odafa Okolie is almost on the same page.