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Rediff.com  » Sports » Injury-hit Bagan face upbeat Lajong

Injury-hit Bagan face upbeat Lajong

October 28, 2009 18:47 IST

Injury-plagued Mohun Bagan will take on a confident Shillong Lajong FC in a fifth round encounter of the ONGC I-League in Shillong on Thursday.

While key striker Jose Berreto and NS Manju have been ruled out of the match due to injuries, Bagan may also be forced to confine their star performer in their last match, Edeh Chidi, to the bench due to injury.

"We will take a final decision on Chidi tomorrow morning," coach Karim Bencherifa said, adding his team was not taking Lajong lightly.

"Even during the derby match against East Bengal, we did not have all the key centre backs like Manju and Deepak Mondal. But others performed really well," Bencherifa said.

Expressing concern over the playing surface which has less grass, Bencherifa said, "We have to adjust and adapt our strategy accordingly. But the fitness level of all the players are satisfactory."

Bagan manager Arun Chakraborty said though the altitude here is 1496 metres above sea level, the players were not facing any problems so far and none of them complained of any breathing problems.

"After Lajong qualified for the I-League, we conducted a conditioning camp for the team at Kalimpong to ensure that the players adapt to playing at altitude."

An excited Lajong general secretary Larsing Ming said his team was fully geared for Thursday's match.

"It will be a tough match. But we are looking forward to the challenge," he said.

Asked if he finds himself in an advantageous position in the absence of some key Bagan players, Ming said, "Mohun Bagan is a big team. They don't just depend on one or two players."

Both the teams have bagged six points each from their two wins in four matches.

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