HERO I-LEAGUE: East Bengal face stiff Arrows challenge

Bhubaneswar, January 7, 2019: Indian Arrows host East Bengal in one of two remaining first-leg games of the 12th Hero I-League at the Kalinga stadium (Bhubaneshwar) on Tuesday.

The Kolkata giants are unbeaten in four games. The hosts on the other hand went down narrowly to Churchill Brothers in their last fixture. But then Arrows have also picked up seven points from their last four games.

Arrows have upset a few big names this season — a fact which Bengal’s Spanish coach Alejandro Garcia cannot ignore. His team simply cannot afford an off-day against this opposition.

Garcia utilized the January transfer window and brought in Toni Dovale (from Cyprus) to strengthen the attack. He also reined in Manipuri midfielder Siam Hanghal on a loan deal.

Jobby Justin (six goals) is the player to watch out for Garcia’s team. His combination with Jamie Colado and Laldanmawia Ralte may cause Arrows problems.

“First, we must respect the Arrows team. We know that it won’t be an easy match for us and we will try to win and we have to be very competitive and do all the things we have prepared for. If we win, we will be at the top in this league,” said Garcia on ‘complacency’.

Arrows on the other hand have stood out with their rhythm and pace. Rohit Danu, the India U-16 recruit, is their player to watch out for. The senior players — Rahul KP, Amarjit Kiyam and Boris Singh — have also done well for Floyd Pinto’s team.

“Like every match, we have prepared ourselves to be in our best possible condition and the last four games went really well. There are a lot of factors for tomorrow’s game. East Bengal are well rested and got some new players. It will be interesting to see what combination we can put in and how the boys tackle the new East Bengal,” said Pinto.

This young Arrows outfit has a tough task at hand as Garcia’s team may go all out. A win will take Bengal to fourth in the league table. Also, Garcia’s team has a game in hand as compared to league leaders Chennai City FC.

Arrows, on the other hand, can be expected to put up a fight.

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