East Bengal FC were certainly expecting a better conclusion to the season, especially given their strong performance in the middle of the campaign. They had high hopes that this would be the season they finally secured a spot in the Indian Super League (ISL) playoffs. However, they fell short of the playoff spot once again.

Despite their success in cup competitions, the Red and Gold Brigade couldn’t carry their cup form into the league. Carles Cuadrat’s side looked like a completely different team in the cup competitions. Earlier in the season, East Bengal FC reached the Durand Cup final but narrowly lost to their arch-rivals, Mohun Bagan Super Giant. They carried their impressive cup form into the Kalinga Super Cup, which was held midway through the season.

In the Kalinga Super Cup, the Red and Gold Brigade showcased an indomitable fighting spirit and a never-say-die attitude. Their resilience and determination led them to lift the trophy by defeating the defending champions, Odisha FC, 3-2 in the final, ending their 12-year national trophy drought.

However, in the ISL, the scenario didn’t improve for the Kolkata giants. Despite finishing with 24 points – five more than in the 2022-23 season – they were unable to improve on their ninth-place finish. East Bengal FC failed to make significant progress in the ISL, but there were many positives they could build on for the new season.


Pl: 22; W: 6; L: 10; D: 6; Pts: 24; GF: 27; GA: 29

The league campaign was once again full of highs and lows for the Kolkata club. East Bengal FC started their league campaign with a 0-0 draw at home against Jamshedpur FC. They tasted their first win in the following fixture against Hyderabad FC, courtesy of a sublime free-kick from Cleiton Silva in stoppage time.

Thereafter, they suffered a string of losses with three successive defeats before splitting the points with Chennaiyin FC away from home. Six matches had been played by then, and East Bengal FC had already lost eight points from winning positions, a record they desperately wanted to change this term.

In an upturn of fortunes, East Bengal FC put on a dominating display in the following fixture to beat NorthEast United FC 5-0 at home, their biggest-ever win in the ISL. They consecutively recorded three 0-0 draws before participating in the Kalinga Super Cup, where their purple patch continued for the Red and Gold Brigade.

Following the mid-season break, East Bengal FC played out a 2-2 draw with Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the Kolkata derby despite taking the lead twice in the game. Injuries to key players like Jose Antonio Pardo and Saul Crespo, Borja Herrera's departure, and new foreign players adjusting to the league made things even more difficult for the side.

Cuadrat’s side went through their toughest phase thereafter, managing only two wins in the following eight matches. Standing in a must-win situation in their last three matches to secure a spot in the playoffs, they managed to get past Kerala Blasters FC and Bengaluru FC, marking their first-ever back-to-back wins in the ISL, but succumbed to a heavy defeat at the hands of Punjab FC in the final league game, which dashed their playoff dreams.


East Bengal FC demonstrated significant defensive improvement this season, securing seven clean sheets – their best defensive record and the fifth-best in the league. Goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Singh Gill notably provided stability and vocal leadership in organizing the defence, a quality lacking in previous seasons' keepers.

The early injury to Jordan Elsey in the Durand Cup proved to be a blessing in disguise, as Cuadrat brought in Jordanian defender Hijazi Maher, who bolstered the backline significantly. The defensive record could have been even better with consistent support beside him.

Another positive was the emergence of young academy players. Twelve players were promoted from the East Bengal FC Reserves, with seven making their ISL debuts this season. Vishnu PV, Sayan Banerjee, and Aman CK were particularly impactful for the team.


Chances creation remains a persistent concern for the Red and Gold Brigade. Since joining the ISL, they have consistently ranked at the bottom of the chances creation chart in all three previous seasons, a trend that saw slight improvement this season. They managed to create 189 chances this term, placing them fourth from the bottom.

Additionally, the Kolkata side faced challenges in terms of goal-scoring. Captain Cleiton Silva carried much of the burden once again, netting eight goals. Nandhakumar Sekar scored five goals while Saul Crespo and Naorem Mahesh Singh contributed with four goals. However, the team lacked consistent scoring options beyond these players, with only five others managing to score one goal each.

Best Player

Prabhsukhan Singh Gill

Addressing the goalkeeping issue was a major concern heading into the season, and to tackle it, they brought in a Punjab-born goalkeeper who proved to be a valuable asset for the side by the end of the season. Gill demonstrated his aerial prowess and displayed great vocal leadership in organizing the defence. His solid performances between the sticks instilled confidence within the team.

He enjoyed a successful 2023-24 season, keeping seven clean sheets and making numerous game-winning saves, particularly in crucial matches that kept his side in the playoffs hunt until the final matchweek. Gill amassed 54 saves across 21 matches, the fifth-highest in the league, boasting an impressive save percentage of 68%.

Aged only 23, Gill will enjoy two more seasons with the Red and Gold Brigade as the side aims to rebuild for the future.

Best Young Player

Vishnu PV

Vishnu stands out as one of the success stories emerging from the Red and Gold Brigade's academy. His stellar performances in the Calcutta Football League (CFL) with the reserves team swiftly earned him a promotion to the ISL squad.

The 22-year-old winger continued to impress the coaching team with his immediate impact on the senior squad. Known for his fleet-footedness, Vishnu left defenders bewildered with his trickery, even causing the league's top full-backs to struggle to contain him.

Vishnu logged 792 minutes across 19 matches, tallying 24 successful dribbles and winning 95 duels. His contributions included one goal and an assist, with his debut goal against Odisha FC in the 32nd second remaining the fastest goal of the season.

What do they need for next season?

Squad depth is paramount, especially considering the team's mid-season struggles due to injuries to key players. Establishing depth across all positions will be crucial for the team's future success. Additionally, participation in continental competitions underscores the need for quality signings to bolster the squad.

Reinforcements are necessary across the board, with particular emphasis on strengthening the defensive midfield and central attacking midfield positions. Retaining core players presents a significant challenge, although efforts have been made to secure long-term contracts for key Indian players. Now, attention turns to retaining foreign talents such as Hijazi Maher and Saul Crespo.

East Bengal FC must move swiftly in the summer transfer window, particularly with the qualification round for the ACL 2 on the horizon.