Mohun Bagan wary of buoyant HAL

Kolkata: On a high after their upset win over JCT, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd from Bangalore are expected to give a testing time to Mohun Bagan who will be desperate for their first win when the two teams clash in the round two I-League match here on Wednesday.

Riding on a solitary strike from skipper and veteran medio Xavier Vijaykumar, HAL upset the Durand Cup runners-up in a round one match in Gurgaon.

In their first match, Mohun Bagan were held by Pune FC who scored a late equaliser through Izumi Arata to cancel Snehashish Chakraborty’s first-half strike that puts Stanley Rozario’s boys under tremendous pressure in their first home match.

To compound their misery, the green-and-maroon’s ace striker Edeh Chidi is down with a hamstring injury, while skipper Ishfaq Ahmed and Kingshuk Debnath are doubtful starters.

A final call on the line-up will be taken tomorrow, though it appears that the Nigerian forward would play despite the niggle.

The duo of Jose Barreto and Subair Muritala Ali would be key for Mohun Bagan on Wednesday.

Mohun Bagan coach Stanley Rozario is wary of HAL’s unpredictability and said, “No doubt there is a lot of pressure, but we cannot settle for less than three points. We were aggressive against Pune FC and hope to dish out another attacking display tomorrow. But HAL are a unpredictable side.”

The Bangalore outfit will once again look on their captain Vijaykumar while former India international forward R C Prakash will be another key player.

The visitors also boast of Nepal international defender Rohit Chand and Nigerian forward Abdulla Hamza.

“The team had been practising hard ... It’s just the start. We’re confident of providing a challenge to Mohun Bagan,” said HAL’s Thaygaraj, an AFC A license coach.

HAL have three points, while Mohun Bagan have one point.