The drums have started rolling already in the easternmost venue of the 2017 I-League as Mohun Bagan arrived in Aizawl on Thursday and began their preparations for the potential title-decider straight away.
Both the teams are locked on 33 points and the penultimate gameday of the season can end up being the title-decider if the visitors snatch a win at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Mohun Bagan, who lost an AFC Cup match to Maziya S&RC the previous night, mostly with fringe players, had to face the wrath of the home fans who jeered and came up with intimidating drum beats when they trained at 5 pm, a few hours after a morning flight to reach the North-eastern city. The Mariners have travelled with a fully fit squad except for Pronay Halder and Subasish Bose.
Vociferous as ever, the Red Army's welcome of Mohun Bagan brought to mind Turkish club Galatasaray fans' approach towards visiting European teams - they would try and unsettle the toughest of oppositions with their frightening antics in the stands.
The chants and slogans from the Aizawl fans were certainly not terrifying but the very fact that a group of fans stormed into the Bagan practice could have intimidated some of the players with a crucial game coming up.
The match in itself has been the talk of the town for the better part of last week. Tickets went on sale on Saturday morning and by Tuesday 10 AM, the counters had to shut shop with a 'sold out' placard hanging on the front.
In some welcome news to the ones who could not procure tickets for the game, the club has decided to sell a further couple of hundred tickets priced at ₹30 - without a seating where spectators could gather near the fencing area amidst tight security, adjacent to the team dugouts.
It is expected to be the highest attended football match ever in Mizoram. Regulars at the ground expect around 12,000 people to attend - a figure which will easily surpass that of the recent home match against Bengaluru FC, where Aizawl's crowd support was instrumental in holding the Southern Eagles 1-1.
With absolutely nobody predicting Aizawl FC to challenge for the title this time around after being reinstated from relegation last season, this has been a sensational underdog story for Khalid Jamil's men. Hence, the fans in the football-crazy state will want to make the match on Saturday an extremely memorable one.
Mr. David Zohmangaiha, one of the board members at Aizawl FC, who is quite the sportsperson himself - the first Mizo to conquer Mount Everest - assured to enhance the Red Army support come Saturday.
"We will hand each and every supporter with a red flag and the Red Army will have many chants that they will sing on that day," he promised. It comes as no surprise that fan group will print the flag, covering all the expenses by themselves.
On the other hand, Mohun Bagan fans will have the 100-seater south-western stand all to themselves. Expect it to be filled to the brim with most Mariners hoping to make the trip on Saturday morning's early morning flight out of Kolkata.
Security has been beefed up like never before at Mualpui and Zarkawt, the location of the stadium and Bagan's team hotel. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) President Praful Patel part, the Chief Minister and Governor of Mizoram are also earmarked to be in attendance.