I-League: East Bengal face tough battle against Sporting (Preview)

Kolkata, April 14 (IANS) East Bengal would have a tough task at home when they host Sporting Clube de Goa in an I-League encounter at the Barasat Stadium here on Friday.

Having tasted defeat at the hands of Bengaluru FC last weekend and with a loss in the form of coach Biswajit Bhattacharya’s resignation, the Red and Golds would be itching to start the remaining games with a clean slate.

The Kolkata giants would need to address key areas when they step onto the field tomorrow, especially the lacklustre defence.

However, East Bengal can take solace from the fact that they emerged victorious 3-1 against the same opposition in the reverse fixture of the game.

The most interesting aspect would be the tactics deployed by the interim managers Sanjay Majhi and Debjit Ghosh.

Majhi on Thursday revealed Frenchman Bernard Mendy would not be a part of the encounter owing to his injury.

“This Sporting Goa team is not the same whom we faced in the first leg. We have to be cautious but we’ve no other option but to go all-out for a win,” he added.

Regarding the bleak chances of clinching their maiden I-League, Majhi said, “Yes, we still have a slim chance of winning it. Although it depends on other results, still we can only hope for the best.”

As for the Goan side, they have 18 points with two games in hand, which secures them a spot in next year’s I-League and Mateus Costa would be happy to not get dragged into the messy relegation battle at the fag end of the season.

After a thumping 5-2 victory over Shillong Lajong at home, spirits would be high given youngster Sumeet Passi’s emergence following skipper Odafa Okolie’s injury. The Flaming Oranje have a well settled defence and with pacy wingers they are sure to give East Bengal a tough time.

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