Coimbatore, Jan 24 (IANS) In the wake of head coach Alejandro Menendez stepping down after a string of poor shows, East Bengal will look to turn a corner when they take on defending champions Chennai City FC in an I-League clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Saturday.
East Bengal on Thursday appointed Mario Rivera as their head coach till the end of the ongoing I-League season.
Rivera is expected to take over the reins by the first week of February with fellow assistant Bastab Roy overseeing matters till then as they take on Chennai City FC on January 25 and Indian Arrows on February 1.
Either club would be far from pleased given where they stand on the table as the 13th I-League season approaches its half-way mark.
Chennai City are in eighth place, having picked eight points while East Bengal have racked up the same total, but sit a place above in seventh by virtue of a superior goal difference.
Despite having not hit full throttle, Chennai City will be boosted by their roller-coaster of a win against Gokulam Kerala FC in the Southern Derby, where they emerged 3-2 winners in a thoroughly pulsating affair.
Katsumi Yusa will be lining up against his former club. Having donned the famous Red and Gold once, he shared his thoughts on facing his old club and said, “I am feeling very happy to play against East Bengal. I have played with them previously and their supporters were very good to me.”
The mood in the Red and Golds camp will be totally different, with their having endured three defeats in a row, but none as deflating as their loss to arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in the Kolkata derby on January 19.
However, they will be aided by the signing of Liberian forward Ansumana Kromah who has rejoined the club.
The task in hand for the visitors wouldn’t be made any easier by the unavailability of defender Marti Crespi, after the veteran Spaniard picked up his fourth yellow card of the season against Mohun Bagan, leaving him suspended for Saturday’s game.