Close battle between Chirag and Mahindra on the cards

Kolkata: With only one place and one point separating them, it will be a close battle between an upbeat
Chirag United and Mahindra United in a round 18 encounter of
the I-League at Yuba Bharati Krirangan at Salt Lake here

Riding high after back-to-back away wins over Mumbai FC
and Salgaocar, Chirag United are expected to give the Mumbai
outfit a run for their money on their home turf.

Chirag United, who had a change of guard recently with
Anjan Nath taking the reins, are currently one point adrift of
the jeepmen who are on the second spot behind leaders Dempo
(32 points).

The home side will be plagued by the absence of forward
Edmilson Marques, serving a two-match ban for spitting on
Churchill Brothers` Robert Lalthampuana. In this situation,
the onus will be on Joshimar da Silva Martins and Ashim
Biswas to deliver the goods for Chirag United.

Their defence too was weakened with injury to Subhasish
Roy Chowdhury and Rahul Kumar.

Anjan, however, sounded confident and said a draw would
be a happy result for the home side tomorrow.

"Mahindra are a strong side but we are confident. We have
planned to organise ourselves and then will go for one point
first. A win will be a bonus," Nath said.

Mahindra United will not have the services of their
defender Denzil Franco who will sit out because of a double

With three draws in their earlier matches, the visitors
will have to strengthen their attack to be spearheaded by
mercurial Mohammad Rafi who could not open his account in
their draw against Viva Kerala. The draw pushed them to the
second spot behind Dempo on the points table.

Mahindra did not have a good outing in Kolkata in their
last match against East Bengal ending in a 1-1 draw. Things
turned murky when several angry local fans hurled missiles
which almost hit a Mahindra technical staff member.

The team management had shot off a letter to the AIFF
threatening that they would not play any more matches if such
incidents recurred.