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Mohammedan Sporting go into the IFA Shield opener with cautious confidence

Mohammedan Sporting Club U-19 team for the U-19 IFA Shield 2018 (Photo courtesy: Mohammedan Sporting Club)

Mohammedan Sporting Club will be hoping to make a positive start to their campaign when they face ATK in the opening group game of the 122nd U-19 IFA Shield at Barasat Stadium on Thursday (Kick-off at 3:00 pm).

Both have very different objectives in mind for the IFA Shield and the result of this match will go some way towards deciding their chances of achieving those goals. For Mohammedan SC, the aim is simple – the eyes of coach Ananta Kumar Ghosh are firmly fixed on a place in the semifinals and three points against tournament underdogs ATK are a must.

In contrast, his ATK counterpart knows a top-four berth is likely to be out of reach for his charges and will instead be targeting at least one positive result in their IFA Shield debut, with defending champions FC Pune City and local giants East Bengal Club awaiting in the next round of fixtures.

Despite reaching the semifinals in the inaugural edition in 2015, the Young Panthers are yet to win a match in the competition. Therefore, they will be desperate to make amends for their failure in the past editions and Ghosh says his side will go into their opener against ATK with cautious confidence.

“I must make it absolutely clear that we approach the IFA Shield with humility and a lot of respect for our opponents. We know what we have to do, but there is no way we underestimate any of our opponents,” he said.

(Mohammedan Sporting Club)