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EB eye first win against Salgaocar

Source: PTI
October 28, 2009 17:04 IST
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The memory of their nightmarish defeat to Mohun Bagan fresh in their minds, East Bengal will take on an upbeat Salgaocar in their round five I-League encounter at Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Salt Lake in Kolkata on Thursday.

East Bengal will miss the services of coach Subhas Bhowmick, who quit following the team's 3-5 debacle, but the tie will see India captain Bhaichung Bhutia in a new role – that of mentor.

Nursing a hamstring injury, Bhutia has been ruled out but the star Indian forward would give a few tips from the sidelines with assistant coach Tushar Rakshit at the helm.

"Highs and lows are part and parcel of every sportperson's life and this happens with a team also. It was one such bad day that has left the players low on confidence.

"But I believe we will fight back and start winning, which will help us regain our confidence. Winning now is important to remain in the championship fight," Bhutia said.

Asked if he would be in the coach's chair for the match on Thursday, Bhutia said he would watch the match from the sidelines and if needed, he would give a few tips.

Besides Bhutia, East Bengal will also be without their main goalkeeper Abhra Mondal, who is down with an injured hand and will be replaced by Arup Debnath.

Mehrajuddin Wadoo will play in the midfield along with captain Syed Rahim Nabi while Ghanaians Abel Hammond and Yusif Yakubu will lead the attack.

Coached by American Tim Hankinson, Salgaocar are full of confidence after registering their first I-League win that came against Sporting Clube de Goa.

Nigerian striker Eneke Ikenwa who scored a brace in that win, will be their trump card, while the team also has the experience of Chandam Chitrasen, Alexandre da Silva and Luciano Sabrosa.

Chitrasen will lead the midfield, while former Sporting Clube de Goa player Sabrosa will lend the defence some stability.

Yet to register a win in the I-League, East Bengal have just two points from two losses and two draws.

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