Talking Point: Can SC East Bengal cope with the absence of Robbie Fowler?

SC East Bengal and Jamshedpur FC take the field in Match 85 of the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) at the Fatorda Stadium in the first game on Sunday. Jamshedpur FC are going into the game on the back of a win, while the Red and Golds suffered a 2-0 defeat in their last match. On paper, seventh-placed Jamshedpur FC, who have recently completed the singing of Boris Singh from ATK Mohun Bagan, seem to have better resources than their rivals and they will back themselves to get an outright result. Though the last time when these two teams met, they both shared the points after a goalless draw and Jamshedpur FC will have that in mind and can’t be complacent going into the contest against a team that’s presently sitting in 10th on the points table. Let’s discuss a few factors that could prove decisive on Sunday.  

SC East Bengal without Robbie Fowler

SC East Bengal go into the game without their head coach Robbie Fowler who is serving a four-match suspension. The Red and Golds will definitely miss the Englishman and his immense footballing experience and it will be interesting to see how they cope with his absence. It can work both ways: it can bring down their performance or it can also give them, including assistant coach Tony Grant, extra motivation to do well. SC East Bengal will also hope their new signings Sourav Das and Sarthak Golui from Mumbai City FC bring good luck to the club.

Strike-force on either side below par so far

Both teams have issues up front. SC East Bengal have just scored 12 goals in 15 games and it has been one of the main reasons behind their current position on the table. With their Indian contingent having been a no-show so far in front of goal, the responsibility on Bright Enobakhare, Jacques Maghoma, Anthony Pilkington and Matti Steinmann has never been greater. Jamshedpur FC, on the other hand, have scored 14 goals in 15 matches and eight of them have come from Nerijus Valksis. Clearly, they will want their new signing Farukh Choudhary to do a lot more than he has since joining the club recently.

Semis motivation on Jamshedpur’s side

Jamshedpur are better placed than SC East Bengal as of now as far as semi-finals are concerned. With a win on Sunday, they can reduce the gap on the teams above them in the points table significantly. FC Goa, Hyderabad FC and NorthEast United FC currently occupy third, fourth and fifth places on 22 points each and a win will take Jamshedpur to 21, so there is a lot of motivation going for them to get an outright result. With 13 points in 15 games, one can’t say the same about SC East Bengal. They will need a major miracle from here to reach the semis.  

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