The Indian Arrows face East Bengal in the first I-League fixture of 2018 at the Ambedkar stadium in New Delhi on Tuesday afternoon.
|Game||Indian Arrows vs East Bengal|
|Date||Tuesday, January 2|
|Time||2:00 PM IST (GMT +5:30)|
TV CHANNELS & LIVE STREAM
The Star Sports Network have the exclusive broadcasting rights of the I-League. All the matches will be telecast live on Star Sports 2 and 2 HD.
|India TV channels||Online streams|
|Star Sports 2/2HD||Hotstar/JioTV|
INDIAN ARROWS POSSIBLE XI (4-2-3-1): Prabhsukhan Singh Gill (GK); Boris Singh Thangjam, Deepak Tangri, Anwar Ali, Sanjeev Stalin; Jeakson Singh Thounaojam, Suresh Singh Wangjam; Rahul Kannoly Praveen, Abhijit Sarkar, Ninthoinganba Meetei; Edmund Lalrindika.
Injured - Asish Rai
Doubtful - Nongdamba Naorem
Suspended - Amarjit Singh Kiyam
Key Players - Rahul KP, Edmund Lalrindika
Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem put in a man-of-the-match performance against Mohun Bagan but the goalkeeper has taken leave from the Arrows' team to attend a trial at Scottish Premier League side Motherwell FC. Amarjit Singh Kiyam has extended his contract that was due to expire on Sunday until the end of the 2019-20 season, though the skipper is suspended for the tie on account of a double-booking in the last game.
Asish Rai suffered a kick in the face when Bagan's Manandeep Singh attempted a bicycle shot. Although the Indian youngster got back on his feet, he was visibly fazed out after getting on the receiving end of that knock.
EAST BENGAL POSSIBLE XI (4-1-4-1): Luis Barreto (GK); Rahul Sarkar, Arnab Mondal, Eduardo Ferreira, Salam Ranjan Singh; Armand Bazzoau; Laldanmawia Ralte, Mohammed Rafique, Mahmoud Al Amna, Katsumi Yusa; Charles De Souza.
Injured - None
Doubtful - Willis Deon Plaza
Suspended - None
Key Players - Katsumi Yusa, Mahmoud Al Amna
Willis Plaza's availability may only be ascertained after a late fitness test as the Trinidad and Tobago striker would be undergoing an MRI scan to determine the extent of the hamstring injury he picked against NEROCA FC on Saturday. The squad might also have to deal with fatigue given that they had to spend eight hours at the Imphal airport before departing for Delhi on Sunday evening.
Luis Norton de Matos' Indian Arrows team have commanded a lot of respect for themselves after just six games in the I-League. Their three losses were against Minerva Punjab (home and away) and Gokulam Kerala. They won twice with a 3-0 margin, against Chennai City and Shillong Lajong, but their 1-1 draw against Mohun Bagan will read as a historic result for the youngsters wherein they rallied back for the first time after conceding first.
Goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh's departure may have a slight impact on the side though Prabhsukhan Singh Gill is adept enough to rise to the occasion. The strength of the squad is also expanding with respect to players like Deepak Tangri, Abhijit Sarkar and Ninthoinganba Meetei making the most of their recent opportunities.
Though he is yet to score, Edmund Lalrindika has been creating quite an impact in the attack where Rahul KP has also announced himself as a threat while Jeakson Singh will have to bear an added sense of responsibility in midfield with the absence of Kiyam against East Bengal.
Khalid Jamil's side began this I-League campaign with a 2-2 draw against defending champions Aizawl FC and then went on to lose the first Kolkata derby of the season, But then they struck form and went on a four-game winning streak which was broken by a resilient NEROCA FC in Manipur.
The Red and Golds also lost their shot at extending their lead with that result as they currently hold only a one-point lead over Minerva Punjab, making it all the more important for them to take all three points from this tie.
Mahmoud Al-Amna's partnership with Yusa remains the pivotal factor. With Plaza doubtful, Charles de Souza would have the opportunity to add to the only goal he has to his name from seven appearances out of which he started twice. Arnab Mondal and Eduardo Ferreira will have more than a handful when they deal with the pace of the spirited Arrows.
Another battle of youth vs experience - who will prevail?