Pune: Air India would be looking to put some distance between them and tenth placed Shillong Lajong when they play HAL Bangalore in the 19th round I-League football clash at the Balewadi Sports Complex Ground here Sunday.
Air India will be buoyed by the return of striker Henry Ezeh, and mid-fielder Takayuki Omi, both missed the Churchill match due to double bookings.
With 24 points from 18 matches, Air India are just three points behind Sporting Clube de Goa and three ahead of fast-approaching Shillong Lajong FC (21), who play Pailan Arrows Sunday. HAL are at the bottom of the heap with just 6 points.
There were few worries for Air India as they wasted several opportunities against Churchill, and the main culprit was midfielder Sandeep Sangha, who missed at least four chances to get the ball into the net.
Though one of the positives that Air India can take into the match is custodian Pawan Kumar`s form, who saved several shots from Churchill strikers.
Meanwhile, Ramalingam Thyagraj`s HAL will have to do a lot to tighten their defence. This is HAL`s third match of the season on this ground. They lost to Pune FC (1-3) and Mumbai FC (0-4).
(Suresh) Raina is someone who scores at a very quick pace and he plays authentic cricketing shots.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni