SC East Bengal will travel to the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday in a bid to turn things around with their second-leg ISL clash against Jamshedpur FC. The reverse fixture between the two sides had ended 0-0 in early December last year.
The Red-and-Golds suffered a 0-2 defeat against Bengaluru FC in their last match. They currently stand tenth on the league table with thirteen points from fifteen matches (two wins, seven draws and six losses).
SC East Bengal Assistant Coach Tony Grant feels that his team has competed well thus far, irrespective of the results. Addressing the media at the virtual pre-match Press conference, he said, “Given the fact that we entered the ISL late and had only a two-week pre-season period, I think the team has done very well. We were on a seven-match unbeaten run at one point. We’ve matched a lot of teams in this short space of time.”
“I think we’re only two points behind Kerala (Blasters), who have been preparing for the past seven years, whereas we only had two weeks. The whole team and the support staff need to be given credit. We’ll continue to show the fight.”
Despite dominating possession in the majority of the matches, SC East Bengal haven’t manage to score enough goals owing to lack of precision in the final third.
Grant added that Head Coach Robbie Fowler’s absence will make a “huge impact” as the league enters the business end. “The players love him (Fowler). He’s the manager and makes quick decisions. Hopefully, we can make him proud.”
Jamshedpur FC, on the other hand, have amassed eighteen points from fifteen matches and occupy the seventh spot on the table (four wins, six draws and five losses).
They pipped Odisha FC 1-0 in their previous match at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim earlier this week to snap their five-match winless run, with Mohammad Mobashir netting the winner in the 40th minute.
Last season’s Golden Boot winner Nerijus Valskis is the linchpin of Jamshedpur FC’s attack, having scored eight goals this season already (third-highest). In fact, more than 50% of Jamshedpur FC’s total goals (15) have come off the Lithuanian forward’s feet.
The Red Miners have kept six clean sheets this season, but conceded seventeen goals on the flipside. Their backline is manned by the likes of Stephen Eze, captain Peter Hartley, Narender Gahlot and Laldinliana Renthlei, with the first two scoring three goals and one goal respectively.
Alexandre Lima, Nicholas Fitzgerald, Aitor Monroy, Seiminlen Doungel, Farukh Choudhary and Aniket Jadhav are the other opposition players to watch out for.