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Kingfisher East Bengal on an uphill mission to qualify for the semi final of the 38th Hero Fedration Cup.

The Red and Gold brigade will not only have to play for a point against the champions of the Hero I-League 2017, but also for the reason that the Kolkata Giant won’t be having the services of two of their key players Mehtab Hossain and Gurwinder Singh for suspensions. Dark clouds are there on the availability of their star Ugandan defender Ivan Bukenya as well.

The Red & Gold brigade will no doubt be relying on the experienced Arnab Mondal, but if Bukenya fails to get ready before the all important clash, they would be in serious trouble to organize their defensive options. Assistant coach Ranjan Chowdhury said, “We took Bukenya to the doctor today as he got injured in the previous game and will take a call on him on morning. Our defensive planning will also get a blow if Bukenya is not available.

The East Bengal side was in dearth of a back-up defender and had to SOS their U19 central defender Mehtab Singh, who could feature alongside Arnab against Aizawl if they don’t get the service of their Ugandan defender. Considering the situation of the Group A, East Bengal could still go through to the last four stage, even before their game against Aizawl, if Chennai City beats Churchill Brothers.

The result of the second game will become immaterial then as both Aizawl and East Bengal will go through from the group. Though the East Bengal Assistant Coach said, “No matter what happens in the first game between Chennai City and Churchill, we don’t want to lose the game today at any cost.”

In both the meetings with the I-League champions this season, East Bengal failed to beat them on both occasions with one draw and one defeat in their kitty. It’s to see how they respond to this new challenge today.

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