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Bhutia return to boost Bagan

Calcutta: Mohun Bagan, who have had a roller-coaster ride in the National Football League, face Mahindra United at home Friday. There is renewed optimism in the camp since Bhaichung Bhutia is returning to the fold after almost two months.

The star striker sounded quite confident on the eve of his comeback game. “Don’t give up on us, we may be nine points behind leaders East Bengal, but there are still nine games to go,” Bhutia said after practice Thursday.

“It was really disappointing to sit out for such a long a period of time, but I’m really looking ahead to the coming games,” he added.

Bhutia will be playing upfront with George Ekeh, while Jose Barreto will operate from behind. “Bhaichung’s return will act as a huge boost to our chances,” Barreto said. He also felt that Bhutia’s inclusion will help him get extra space to manoeuvre.

Coach Subrata Bhattacharya said he has no option but to go all out. “We’re in a tight corner and we have no option but to win,” he said. Left-half Rennedy Singh has a minor injury. “We’ll decide on his inclusion in the XI tomorrow,” the coach added.

Mohun Bagan are on 21 points from 12 games while Mahindra have 13.

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