Depleted Chirag United up against buoyant Pune FC

Kolkata: Desperate for a win, a depleted Chirag United will face buoyant Pune FC in their return leg
round 18 fixture of the I-League at Yuba Bharati Krirangan
here on Tuesday.

Chirag`s star recruit Sunil Chhetri, goalkeeper Abhijit
Mondal, defenders Arnab Mondal and Subhasish Roy Choudhury
have been ruled out with injuries, which means technical
director Subrata Bhattacharya will have to use his limited
resources on the home condition.

On papers, seventh-placed Chirag United may be a point
ahead of the Pune outfit in the I-League table, but the form
factor is heavily tilted in the favour of the visitors who are
unbeaten in their last five matches.

Chirag United, on the other hand, have remained winless
in last four games and were also dealt with a bodyblow when
they were thrashed 1-4 by Salgaocar in their last match at
home that saw the India star striker play as a substitute in
his maiden appearance for the team.

Beside looking to exploit the home advantage, Chirag will
bank on their foreigner duo of Joshimar Martins and Junior
Elijah to lead the team to a safety zone.

"We require three points to move into the safety
zone...but at the same time, we should not under-estimate our
opponents as they boast of some fine players in Subrata Pal
and Izumi Arata among others," Bhattacharya said.

Pune FC, who are high on confidence after their 2-1
comeback win over Air India in the previous round, now Derrick
Pereira`s boys will look to earn full points to go ahead of
Chirag United in the standings.

"We go into the game with a positive mood...We hope to
maintain the same spirit like we did against Air India when we
fought back despite being goal down," said Pereira.


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