Bagan's Bencherifa faces crunch of players against Air India

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Kolkata, Oct 2 (UNI) After a defeat in the opener, a tough situation was staring the face of Mohun Bagan coach Karim Bencherifa, who would find it very difficult to pick up his first eleven against Air India in the I-League tomorrow with four regulars being ruled out due to injuries.

Striker Baichung Bhutia, medio Habibur Rahman, defender Dipak Mondol and goalkeeper Sangram Mukherjee were all in the list of injured players making it difficult for Bencherifa to give a good start against a side, which had already snatched a point from Mohammedan Sporting.

Substitute goalkeeper Shilton Paul was also nursing injury in his left shoulder after hitting post during play against Mumbai FC last week.

As Bencerifa was pondering over his first eleven and possible bench strength, he would surely keep in mind that Md Sporting was rather lucky not to concede defeat after trailing for 37 minutes by a goal from Surojit Roy. Theodore Sunday had levelled the game.

Bencherifa's woe was continuing as Bagan were yet to settle dispute of signing of Marcos, a midfielder, the club wanted badly to fill vacuum for a third foreigner to play in the ONGC League.

All India Football Federation had asked Bagan and JCT to settle their disputes by this week, the fate of Brazilian Marcos was still undecided. Bagan would have to go with stopper Peter Odafe and Jose Barreto.

Air India coach Bimal Ghosh, who was happy to earn a point in the first match, that too in an away match, said his boys were raring to go against Bagan and make meaningful this trip to Kolkata.

Ghosh said his aim was to return home with as many as points so that in home matches the players should not take field with tense mood.

UNI PC SJC RKM HT1808

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