I-League: Punjab FC hosts Mohun Bagan in top-half showdown

Both sides are on a hot streak, with Mohun Bagan currently enjoying a four-game winning run and the Punjab FC is also unbeaten in its last six games.

Visitor Mohun Bagan currently enjoys a 3-1 head-to-head lead against Punjab FC, with one match ending in a stalemate.   -  NISSAR AHMAD

Punjab FC will host table-topper Mohun Bagan in a big-ticket I-League clash in Ludhiana on Tuesday. Punjab FC is placed third while the Kolkata heavyweight is at the top of the table.

Both sides are on a hot streak, with Mohun Bagan currently enjoying a four-game winning run and the Punjab FC is also unbeaten in its last six games., setting up what could turn out to be one of the most exciting games of the league so far. The visitor, however, has a superior 3-1 head-to-head record, with one ending in a stalemate.

Mohun Bagan has been well served by its Spanish imports with Joseba Beitia in the centre of midfield, Fran Gonzales in the holding midfielder’s role and Fran Morante at the heart of the defense.

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Youngsters such as Nongdamba Naorem, Sk. Sahil and Subha Ghosh have also expressed themselves on the pitch, helping Vicuna’s side deliver some eye-catching performances.

Punjab, on the other hand, while remaining unbeaten, has fallen short of crossing the line on more than one occasion. Brazilian forward Sergis Barbosa and Cameroonian veteran Dipanda Dicka along with talented youngster Makan Chote have been scoring the goals for the Punjab outfit.

-NEROCA hosts Real Kashmir in must-win encounter-

Winless in its last four matches, NEROCA FC hosts another struggling side in Real Kashmir FC in an I-League match in Imphal  on Tuesday.

Neroca has made a shaky start to its campaign and currently sits at 10th in the 11-team league with five points, while Real Kashmir is placed ninth. The two sides desperately need a win to come out of the bottom half of the points table.

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The orange brigade coached by Gift Rai Khan, despite having quality players in its ranks, has found it difficult to gel as a cohesive unit. Boubacar Diarra and Zico Sekle have displayed sparks of their brilliance up front but have struggled to score goals.

The ‘Snow Leopards’, on the other hand, have scored four headed goals this season, which validates Diarra’s observation. However, the Srinagar-based side goes into the match with a win and a draw in its last two matches, thus dropping five points, making Tuesday’s fixture a must-win for them.

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