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Chidi & Ralte are doubtful starters

Calcutta: Just when it appeared as if they are getting back on track after an inspiring 2-1 win over Mohammedan Sporting, injuries are back to haunt the East Bengal camp.

A win over Lajong FC, on Friday, at the Salt Lake Stadium, would certainly have given East Bengal a major boost even though Bengaluru FC’s victory against United SC on Thursday have made their chances of lifting the I-League title slimmer. But with their key players indisposed again — Edeh Chidi nursing a sore hamstring and Lalrindika Ralte down with a foot injury — beating Lajong would be pretty difficult for Armando Colaco’s men.

Full points from Friday’s game, though, will see East Bengal overtake the fifth-placed Lajong as they currently trail the Shillong-based club by two points, having played three matches less.

“Regarding Chidi and Lalrindika, I’ll have to take a call tomorrow morning,” was all Colaco could say when asked if the duo could play on Friday.

Chidi, however, underwent light jogging during Thursday’s training session. But Ralte couldn’t practise, although he was there at the ground.

“Chidi playing through (against Mohammedan Sporting) is an example for the rest in the team. It only highlights his dedication. Of course, if foreign strikers score, it increases the confidence of the entire team. But at the same time, the team too has to support the strikers to help them score.

“In fact, that’s how we won our previous game,” Alvito D’Cunha pointed out.

With Uga Okpara out for the season, onus would be on Raju Gaikwad and Arnab Mondal to man the red-and-gold defence, while Cavin Lobo could be drafted in if Ralte misses out.

On the other hand, Lajong keep their fingers crossed over striker Cornell Glen, who’s a doubtful starter because of an injury.