Talking Point: Can SC East Bengal’s improved defence cope with Mumbai City’s formidable attack?

SC East Bengal and Mumbai City FC will both be looking for wins in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 when the two sides square off at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Friday. The Islanders, in particular, will be raring to return to the pitch and earn a positive result following a goalless draw against Hyderabad FC in their last outing. Mumbai City will be confident about getting a win as they seek doing the double over an SC East Bengal team that they beat earlier this season. That said, Robbie Fowler’s men are on a seven-match unbeaten run themselves and won’t be easy to overcome. Here, we take a look at some of the talking points ahead of Friday’s clash.

Mumbai City could do better in the second half

The Islanders failed to score in their last outing against Hyderabad, which ended their run of finding the back of the net for nine consecutive games. They pushed hard in the second period but couldn’t get the all-important goal as the match ended in a draw. Their head coach Sergio Lobera though wouldn’t have been satisfied with the result as well as the lack of a goal. Mumbai City, in fact, can improve in the second half of games and it’s something Lobera could stress to his players given that only seven of the Islanders’ 17 goals this season have come after the restart.

SC East Bengal’s much-improved defence

After conceding 11 goals and keeping a clean sheet in their opening six games of the season, SC East Bengal have shown a big improvement at the back having conceded five times and registered two shut-outs in their last six matches. While the form of the outstanding Debjit Majumder in goal has played a role in that, it would be unfair to overlook the contribution of their defence. In fact, it’s their defensive improvement that has made SC East Bengal hard to beat. Unbeaten in seven games, a solid defence has contributed to them winning two and drawing five of those matches.

Rowllin Borges enjoying a fine campaign for Mumbai City in midfield

While a lot has been said about Mumbai City’s defence, attack, and midfield general Ahmed Jahouh, the contributions of Rowllin Borges at the center of the park haven’t gone unnoticed. The India international is enjoying a stellar season, especially in the defensive phase. He has attempted 49 tackles so far and has the best success rate (51.02%) amongst players who have attempted more than 40 tackles. He’s also made 701 passes and has an impressive passing accuracy of 84.16%. An intelligent reader of the game, Borges has the most interceptions in the league (39) as well and Lobera will want him to add to his goals and assist tally for the season.


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