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Injury curse strikes ISL again as Pune ponder Gudjohnsen replacement

Published: 27th September 2016 06:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th September 2016 06:29 AM   |  A+A-

Injury curse

CHENNAI : The past two seasons of the Indian Super League have seen a lot of teams hit by injuries to high-profile players, normal considering most of the big names are on the wrong side of the 30s. This year, the first injury blow has come even before the season has kicked off.

With just days left for the third edition of the ISL to kick off, FC Pune City are scrambling to find a replacement for their marquee player Eidur Gudjohnsen — one of the highest profile names in the league this year considering he had appeared in the recent European championships. Gudjohnsen had sustained an injury in a pre-season game against Ozone FC. He will now return home to recover. “The fans and pe­­ople here who gave me a warm we­lcome, deserved more from m­e, but unfortunately my campa­­ign with FC Pune City has to end for now. I look forward to being back in the near future and wish FC Pune City the best of lu­ck for ISL 2016,” Gudjohnsen said.

Pune officials are now looking to replace their marquee player as soon as possible with the club reportedly looking at ‘a list of 3-4 players’. However sources were not willing to reveal names, citing that nothing had been finalised. The Icelandic striker is not Pune’s only injury blow with Cameroon defender Andre Bikey also returning home after a thigh injury. “The injuries to Eidur and Andre both are unfortunate developments for us,” said Pune coach Antonio Lopez Habas. “Eidur had a very good pre-season training stint with us in Spain where he showed his formidable skills.”

Gudjohnsen and Bikey are a continuation of ISL’s tryst with players pulling out with injuries. In its first year, Freddie Ljungbe­rg played only a few minutes, despite being Mumbai’s marquee st­ar. The year after Kerala Blaste­rs played without a marquee th­a­nks to Carlos Marchena never being fit while Kolkata’s Helder Postiga sat out the season after su­staining an injury in the first ma­­­­tch of the season.

Aizawl reinstated to I-League

Mizoram’s Aizawl FC has been reinstated to the I-League despite getting relegated last year, an executive committee meeting of the All Indian Football Federation, announced in Goa on Monday. The move to reinstate Aizawl is designed to ensure that at least 9 teams will take part in the league.

 sports@newindianexpress.com

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