Talking Point: Can SC East Bengal’s domestic players step up against Chennaiyin?

Chennaiyin FC will be looking to secure successive wins for the first time in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 when they face SC East Bengal at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Monday. The Marina Machans will be confident after beating Odisha FC in their last outing but will have their task cut out against an SC East Bengal side that are unbeaten in their previous six matches. Here, we have a look at the factors that could decide the outcome of Monday’s clash between the teams.

Is Esmael Goncalves the answer to Chennaiyin’s striking woes?

The Marina Machans have found it hard to score goals all season and have found the back of the net just 10 times so far. They’ve found it difficult to replace their top-scorer and last season’s Golden Boot winner Nerijus Valskis but in Chennaiyin’s last game Esmael Goncalves showed that he’s capable of shouldering the scoring responsibility. He scored a match-winning brace to become their leading goal-scorer this season with three goals from seven games. Csaba Laszlo will be hoping that Esmael can continue his fine form and take on the goal-scoring mantle for his team.

SC East Bengal’s domestic players need to contribute up front

Out of the 11 goals that SC East Bengal have scored this season, 10 have been netted by their foreign contingent and the other was an own goal. Jacques Maghoma and Matti Steinmann are their joint top-scorers with three goals each. Bright Enobakhare has netted twice in four appearances and Anthony Pilkington and Scott Neville have also chipped in with a strike each. However, their Indians players need to offer more with the likes of Harmanpreet Singh, Mohammed Rafique and Jeje Lalpekhlua yet to open their account this season.

Lallianzuala Chhangte struggling to replicate goal-scoring form

The Indian winger scored seven goals last campaign but is struggling to find his goal-scoring touch in Hero ISL 2020-21. He’s got one goal and one assist so far, however, he can do much better with a bit of composure. Chhangte’s been getting into good positions but his decision-making has been letting him down. He has 60 touches in opposition box – the most by a player in Hero ISL 2020-21 – and will be expected to be more clinical in front of goal in the second half of the season.

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