I-League: Bagan faces Minerva challenge at home

Sailing on two successive wins, Mohun Bagan will look to consolidate its position when it meets Minerva Punjab FC in the third successive I-League match at home, here at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium on Tuesday.

Mohun Bagan stiker Sony Norde

Mohun Bagan will be strengthened by the arrival of Haitian striker Sony Norde, who returned to the club for his third successive season on Monday.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Sailing on two successive wins, Mohun Bagan will look to consolidate its position when it meets Minerva Punjab FC in the third successive I-League match at home, here at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium on Tuesday.

The host is strengthened by the arrival of Haitian striker Sony Norde, who returned to the club for his third successive season on Monday. There are some injury worries in the side, but the host seems to have a good bench that would allow the coach, Sanjoy Sen, to have a choice in replacements.

The tournament newcomer Minerva Punjab has not been able to impress much so far, having drawn its first match against another debutante Chennai City FC before losing the next (1-0), while visiting Aizawl FC. Unlike Bagan, which possess a rich tradition being one of the oldest clubs of the continent, Minerva has formed its team around a group of youngsters — graduating under the former national junior and youth team coach, Colm Toal, who is also the technical director of the Punjab outfit.

With nothing in terms of tradition and expectations of the fans to weigh it down, the Punjab side will be looking to cause an upset and announce its arrival in the tournament. Having Nigerians Loveday Enyinnaya and Joel Sunday as the two foreign recruits, Minerva will be leaning on the energy of its young players to put a challenge against the might of Bagan, felt its coach Surinder Singh.

Bagan, which beat Churchill Brothers (1-0) and Shillong Lajong FC (2-0) in the previous two outings at home, is likely to miss defender Kingshuk Debnath and midfielder Sehnaj Singh, who are nursing injuries. But, Sen will have the option of fielding all the four foreigners with Nordy and Equatoguinean defender Eduardo Ferreira available for selection for the match alongside Japanese Katsumi Yusa and Scotsman Darryl Duffy, who have already played the previous two matches.

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