Match 49 Preview: Resurgent SC East Bengal square off against confident Goa

A resurgent SC East Bengal will be looking to register back-to-back wins in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 when they face FC Goa at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco. Wednesday’s clash between the teams promises to be an exciting one with goals, especially if the teams’ record of just one clean sheet each this season is anything to go by.

The Kolkata club picked up their first-ever Hero ISL win in their last outing and will be eager to build on their three-match unbeaten run. After an underwhelming start to the campaign that saw them lose their first three games, Robbie Fowler’s men have shown improvement in their next five, losing just once. Their defence though needs to get better, particularly in the second half where they’ve conceded 11 goals – four of which have come in the last 15 minutes.

However, their attack seems to have come to life in recent matches. While Anthony Pilkington and Jacques Maghoma have been their biggest difference-makers in the final third this season, the addition of new recruit Bright Enobakhare has already helped in shouldering the goal-scoring responsibility.

Bright was on target as a substitute in SC East Bengal’s win against Odisha FC and it will be interesting to see what sort of an impact he makes to the team from the start. Matti Steinmann has been another influential player for the Kolkata club and the German midfielder will be hoping to add to his two assists and two goals this season when he faces Goa.

“…The lads are probably in a better space now than they were a few weeks ago. I have told them, ‘go out there and play the way you can’. If you play the way you can, you will win games. We are not a million miles away. Look, we have won a game but we won’t get carried away …In football sometimes you have to take the rough with the smooth, sometimes results go against you, sometimes in your favour …We are always working to get the right results,” SC East Bengal head coach Fowler said ahead of the game  

Meanwhile, FC Goa will be targeting a third consecutive win this season for the first time on Wednesday. The Gaurs completed a splendid late comeback against Hyderabad FC in their last match and they will be eager to kick on as they bid to continue occupying the semi-final spots in the standings. One of the most attractive sides going forward this season, Goa have scored nine goals from open play.

The Gaurs have found the back of the net 12 times so far, eight of which have come in the second period, which is incidentally the half that SC East Bengal have conceded most of their goals in. However, Goa will need to be tighter at the back themselves having conceded 10 times already. Seven of those 10 goals have come from set-pieces, making it an aspect of their game where their head coach Juan Ferrando will demand improvement.

Their forward line has been led with conviction by Igor Angulo, who is the top goal-scorer in the league with nine goals. The Spaniard’s been well supported by Jorge Ortiz Mendoza and has thrived off the service provided to him by the likes of Alexander Jesuraj, Brandon Fernandes, Alberto Noguera and Edu Bedia.

"There are two points. Firstly, with the new players [three of them], they [SC East Bengal] have more quality and secondly, their confidence -- in the last few weeks they were under pressure. Now when you have three points and when you win 3-1, they will play without stress and pressure. So this will be a problem for us,” Goa head coach Ferrando said ahead of the game.

Squads:

SC East Bengal

Goalkeepers: Debjit Majumder, Sankar Roy, Mirshad Michu, Rafique Ali

Defenders: Samad Mallick, Abhishek Ambekar, Daniel Fox, Scott Neville, Narayan Das, Mohamed Irshad, Gurtej Singh, N Rohen Singh, Lalramchullova, Rana Gharami, Anil Chawan, Raju Gaikwad, Ankit Mukherjee

Midfielders: Sehnaj Singh, Matti Steinmann, Jacques Maghoma, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Wahengbam Luwang, Bikash Jairu, Yumnam Singh, Surchandra Singh, Loken Meitei, Mohammed Rafique, Aaron Amadi-Holloway, Anthony Pilkington, Milan Singh, Haobam Singh

Forwards: Balwant Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, CK Vineeth, Girik Khosla, Harmanpreet Singh, Bright Enobakhare

FC Goa

Goalkeepers: Mohammad Nawaz, Naveen Kumar, Shubham Dhas, Antonio D’Silva

Defenders: Sarineo Fernandes, Aiban Dohling, Ivan Gonzalez, James Donachie, Leander D’Cunha, Mohamed Ali, Sanson Pereira, Saviour Gama, Seriton Fernandes

Midfielders: Alberto Noguera, Alexander Jesuraj, Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia, Flan Gomes, Jorge Mendoza, Lenny Rodrigues, Nestor Dias, Phrangki Buam, Princeton Rebello, Redeem Tlang, Seiminlen Doungel

Forwards: Aaren D’Silva, Devendra Murgaonkar, Igor Angulo, Ishan Pandita, Makan Chothe

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 49: SC East Bengal vs FC Goa

Date: January 6 (Wednesday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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