Machhindra, The Nepal's Pride || Know Your Opponent Ft. Machhindra FC

Mohun Bagan are set to start their AFC Cup campaign on 16 August, when they face Nepalese Club Machhindra FC at Yuba Bharati Krirangan in the first Play-Off tie. 

Mohun Bagan have assembled a formidable squad, with notable inclusions of Anwar Ali, Jason Cummings, Anirudh Thapa, Armando Sadiku, Sahal Abdul Samad, Hector Yuste. They were successful in retaining Dimi Petratos, Hugo Boumous, Brendan Hamill, Vishal Kaith, Ashish Rai, Subhasish Bose too, who were key for Mohun Bagan's success in the last year's ISL. 

Mohun Bagan's primary goal this season is to win the League Shield and AFC Cup, a feat no other Indian Team has achieved before. Bengaluru FC played the final in 2017, Dempo reached the semis in 2008, a feat our arch-rivals East Bengal matched in 2013. In recent years Mohun Bagan have been a regular in AFC Cup but Mohun Bagan's best finish was qualifying for the Inter-Zonal semi finals. 

This year Mohun Bagan wants to change it and have assembled the Galacticos of Indian Football. Mohun Bagan's first opponent this term is Nepal's finest Machhindra FC. 

Here, in this article, we tried to take a look in Machhindra. Macchindra, established in 1973, were the champions of Nepal for 2021 and 2022 and this time they have beaten Paro FC of Bhutan to qualify for the 2nd round, where the Mohun Bagan challenge awaits for them. Macchindra has a plenty of Nepal internationals in the squad with some foreigners who can create trouble for Mohun Bagan at Yuba Bharati. The most notable player in the Macchindra squad has to be Bimal Gharti Magar. Touted as Nepalese wonderkid, Bimal was the first Nepalese to play for Mohun Bagan, when he was just 19, as he was signed as the Asian player for our club in 2017-18 season. Bimal, a very young prodigy that time didn't had the best of times at Kolkata and he went back to Nepal in 2018-19 season and now established himself as one of the best players of Nepal and SAFF region. The Nepalese club has Bishal Shrestha in goal who is the current captain too. They fielded a very youthful squad in the first game against Paro with some experienced foreigners, one of them is Kareem Omolaja, who played plenty of his football in India, and Kolkata. Kareem once played for our local rivals Mohammedan SC in 2016.He played for Aryan FC, Sudeva Delhi, Minerva Punjab, Aizawl, Tollygunge Agragami too. This season he joined Macchindra again and will feature in the defence against Mohun Bagan too. The Nepalese club has Afeez Olawale Oladipo as the foreign striker, who once used to play for Bangladeshi club Chittagong Abahani. The striker is capable of scoring goals , as he has done against Paro FC in the last game. In the front 3, they have Nepalese youngsters who impressed last day. One of them was Ayush Ghalan, who scored the last day. Just 19, Ayush will be a tricky customer for the Mohun Bagan defence with his speed. 

Despite all this, Mohun Bagan should qualify pretty easily if we are being honest. Macchindra's current squad value stands at 15 CR, where Mohun Bagan's stands at 60 CR+; This should give you a fair idea about the result of the game. However, football is not played at Pen and Paper, and Macchindra has the quality to surprise Mohun Bagan. 

Still, if i am a betting person, I will put all my money on Mohun Bagan to qualify. 
As per the current AFC rule, Mohun Bagan can field 6 foreigners and put 2 on bench. 

Here is how we think Coach Juan Ferrando will setup Mohun Bagan for that game.

Let's hope Mohun Bagan can win the game, as Expected! 

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