I-League: Injury-hit Mohun Bagan to take on Dempo on Friday
Duler: A depleted Mohun Bagan, who are looking for their third straight win, will take on Dempo Sports Club in a seventh round match of the Airtel I-League tournament here on Friday.
The Kolkata outfit, bogged down by injuries to key players, has eight points after two wins and equal number of draws and losses. The Goa club has six points from as many matches and is placed 11th on the points table.
Mohun Bagan failed to get good start in I-League due to the absence of their star striker, Odafe Okolie but wins in their last two matches have raised their confidence and they are looking for a hat-trick of victories.
Key Bagan players like Sankar Oraon, Eric Muranda and inform Katsumi Yusa will be out of action against Dempo, who are strengthened by signing of four AIFF players on loan from the defunct club, Pailan Arrows.
While Oraon is serving one match suspension, Muranda and in-form Yusa are facing health and injury issues. In their absence, it will be an uphill task for Bagan to notch up their third successive win.
Two Dempo players -- striker Alwyn George and midfielder Holicharan Narzary -- will play their first match tomorrow against Bagan.
Bagan coach Karim Bencherifa is unperturbed by the absence of key players.
"It`s a tough situation against a tough opponent but my boys are well prepared for the challenge and we are hopeful of a win against Dempo and that will boost the team`s morale further," said Bencherifa.
Dempo, too, had a poor start, losing their opening encounter against Shillong Lajong and drawing their next three matches before putting up a commendable performance against in-form East Bengal whom they defeated 3-1.
However, they lost their way in the next match against Bengaluru FC and went down 3-1.
With four Pailan Arrows players in Dempo rank, coach Arthur Papas has several options and the Goa team will also have the advantage of playing at home.