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Kolkata, Oct 10 (IBNS): Pailan Arrows, All India Football Federation’s Developmental side will look to carry on the winning momentum when they take on Durand Cup champion Air India in the second round of the I-League at Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium on Thursday (October 11).
Having outplayed Mumbai FC 3-2 in the opening round, the Arrows, in their second consecutive home match, would look to conquer the other Mumbai side.
Arrows have being be strengthened by the arrival of their Australian coach Arthur Papas. Papas, who inspired Arrows to a series of good performances early in the season, missed the first I-League match because of visa problems.
The team practiced on Wednesday under Papas’ assistant Aaron Simon, who sounded confident about the boys putting up another good showing.
“Air India are a good side and I hope the boys would live up to the challenge and continue with the form of the last match,” he said.
The only change Arrows are like to make is in the goalkeeping department, where Soram Poirei is likely to replace Ravi Kumar. The rest of the winning combination is likely to be retained under the captain Milan Singh.
Despite being a youth team Arrows’ have shown lot of maturity as they picked up two wins while remaining unbeaten in the last six matches (since the Durand Cup) against different senior teams.
On the other hand, Air India, still smarting under the 1-5 drubbing it got from a 10-man Prayag United SC in the opener, looked for a turnaround under coach Godfrey Pereira.
“Arrows are a very energetic and youthful side. They stay motivated having won their first match but I’m hopeful my team will put behind the setback of the first match and play true to their potential,” Pereira said after Air India’s practice on Wednesday.
The Air India coach said he has a good measure of the Arrows team having held to a 1-1 draw in the group league stage of Durand Cup.
Air India boasts of two Nigerians in their ranks – Henry Ezeh and Elijah Junior, and Pereira hopes his boys would cast off the first round defeat and produce a reformed performance.