Match 52 Preview: Bengaluru eye beginning new era with win over SC East Bengal

Bengaluru will be keen on getting their 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) campaign back on track when they face SC East Bengal at the Fatorda Stadium on Saturday. The Blues parted ways with their head coach Carles Cuadrat after a loss in their last match and they will be hoping to start anew under their interim head coach Naushad Moosa, while SC East Bengal will be looking to extend their four-match unbeaten run.

The Blues will head into the clash on the back of three successive defeats and they will be aware that they must start picking up some wins quickly if they want to qualify for the semi-finals. As many as eight of their 12 goals this season have come in the second half and their defence hasn’t been at their best either.

The former Hero ISL champions have conceded 12 goals so far -- the most they’ve conceded after nine games ever since their entry into the league. They have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last six games and will know that they must be more solid at the back if they want a turnaround in fortunes.

Their attack must also raise their game and be more clinical in the final third. Even though they have six different scorers so far, only Sunil Chhetri (4 goals) and Cleiton Silva (3 goals) have made their presence felt among their attackers. The likes of Deshorn Brown and Kristian Opseth also need to step up and start contributing and sharing the goal-scoring responsibility.

“East Bengal are a decent side. They are getting better. Bright Enobakhare is a talented player. We will be playing more entertaining football. We can assure you that. We have to remain compact when we lose the ball. We have had fewer clean sheets. The focus is not to concede early goals,” said Moosa ahead of the game.

Meanwhile, SC East Bengal seem to be improving with each passing game and they will be eager to continue in that trajectory when they face Bengaluru. The Kolkata club showed tremendous character to earn a point against FC Goa in their last game despite playing most of the second half with 10 men after Daniel Fox was shown a red card.

They will go into the clash against Bengaluru with plenty of confidence and will back their ability to take something from the game. Robbie Fowler’s men though must ensure that they remain switched on for the entirety of the contest. They have conceded 12 out of 15 goals in the second half and this could come into play against a Bengaluru team that tend to score more in the second period.

The Kolkata club’s frontline will especially be brimming with confidence. Jacques Maghoma is their top-scorer with three goals but it’s Bright Enobakhare that all eyes will be on. The Nigerian forward has scored two goals in just as many games for SC East Bengal, including a sensational solo goal against Goa that’s sure to be a contender for goal of the season.

"It's a great time for me here. The players and the staff have been amazing. We just have to focus on our next game and try to get as many points as we can before the end of the season," said Enobakhare ahead of the game.

Squads:

Bengaluru FC

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Lara Sharma, Sharon

Defenders: Juanan, Rahul Bheke, Francisco Gonzalez, Ajith Kumar, Joe Zoherliana, Biswa Darjee, Namgyal Bhutia, Parag Srivas, Pratik Chaudhari, Wungngayam Muirang

Midfielders: Dimas Delgado, Erik Paartalu, Suresh Wangjam, Thoi Singh, Ajay Chhetri, Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha, Amay Morajkar, Harmanjot Khabra, Cleiton Silva

Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Kristian Opseth, Ashique Kuruniyan, Deshorn Brown, Udanta Singh, Edmund Lalrindika, Leon Augustin, Semboi Haokip, Naorem Singh

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

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 52: Bengaluru FC vs SC East Bengal

Date: January 9 (Saturday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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