East Bengal return to the Saltlake Stadium this Saturday on Leap Day to take on Goan visitors Churchill Brothers. Incidentally, this is going to be their first I-League home fixture this season at the iconic venue at the heart of the city. The match is slated for an evening kick-off at 5pm and will be broadcast LIVE on 1Sports and the 1Sports official Facebook Page. Online streaming is also available on the Fancode app and website.
Having succumbed to five defeats since the turn of the year, the season hasn’t been kind on the Red and Golds but after having notched two wins on the trot, East Bengal have seen themselves out of the relegation scrap, for now, to rise to fourth on the table.
On Saturday, the Kolkata giants have an opportunity to put their chaotic run behind them and could rise to second place, based on the outcome of the third and final Super Saturday fixture featuring Gokulam Kerala FC v Punjab FC, right after.
“Team is getting used to new methods, but we are still on the way,” said East Bengal head coach Mario Rivera ahead of the game.
Weighing in on their Saturday opponents, he further added, “Churchill Brothers are always a difficult team with good foreigners. They are very competitive. Last season, we couldn’t win against them in the first leg but we will try to get it this time.”
Churchill Brothers, currently third on the table, had their winning run thwarted by the Red and Gold’s archrivals Mohun Bagan. However, the Red Machines’ last trip to the city of joy was one to remember, running out 4-2 winners against the league leaders and till date, remain the only side to have inflicted defeat on Mohun Bagan this season.
Churchill Brothers head coach Bernardo Tavares shared his pre-match thoughts, “East Bengal will always be a challenge to any team, no matter what. We were on a good run and we had the chance to cut Mohun Bagan’s lead at the top and unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.”
“Defeats are always disappointing but we have learnt from the mistakes we made and hopefully against East Bengal, we can make it count and come home with a result,” he concluded.
Churchill Brothers were also the first team to stop East Bengal’s unbeaten run following the turn of the year, courtesy the last-minute Willis Plaza header. The defeat ignited a downward spiral for the Red & Golds but a win tomorrow will surely heal their wounds and continue the resurgence.