I-League 2018-19: East Bengal tighten up midfield, sign Siam Hanghal on loan

Hanghal in action during his spell with Chennaiyin FC in the 2016 ISL
Hanghal in action during his spell with Chennaiyin FC in the 2016 ISL
Avik Roy

Kolkata giants East Bengal are all set to sign Siam Hanghal for the remainder of the season. The midfielder will be joining from Delhi Dynamos on loan, according to sources.

The Manipur-born joined the capital side, Delhi Dynamos at the start of the season, but he never found the coach’s confidence. He hasn't taken the field for a single match in this season. Finally, he has been released by the club to the Kolkata side to give him some game time.

Delhi were struggling since the beginning of this ISL season. A string of losses saw them at the bottom of the table before registering a lone win against Chennaiyin FC in their last match before the international break. Despite the poor results, coach Josep Gombau never looked at the opportunity to use Hanghal.

East Bengal too were struggling to get control, especially in midfield. The three back-to-back losses exposed the frailties in the midfield, which was outplayed by the opponent. Coach Alejandro Menendez has different options including Yami Longvah, Kamalpreet Singh but none of them found the rhythm.

But the recent signings suggest that Menendez is giving more focus on the midfield. The signing of Spanish midfielder Jaime Santos Colado and Antonio Dovale would provide more options along with regulars Lalrindika Ralte and Kassim Aidara. No doubt he will have another potent attacking option in Hanghal.

East Bengal have already released Syrian playmaker Mahmoud Al-Amna. Hanghal has all the abilities to be a like-for-like replacement. During his time with Bengaluru FC, Hanghal formed an impeccable partnership with Johnny Menyongar.

A product of Tata Football Academy, Hanghal started his professional career with I-League side Pailan Arrows. Failing to get much game time, he was loaned out to 2nd division side DSK Shivajians. Hanghal was roped in by newly formed Bengaluru FC in 2013 and made his debut against Mohun Bagan. During his three seasons with Bengaluru, he won two I-League titles along with a Federation Cup.

After spending a single season for NorthEast United, in which he played 12 matches, Hanghal was signed by Chennaiyin FC in 2016. He came back to the I-League and joined now-defunct side Mumbai FC. He played for Kerala Blasters last season before joining Delhi this year.

Edited by Kishan Prasad


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