Match 59 Preview: SC East Bengal hope to continue unbeaten run against Kerala Blasters

SC East Bengal take on Kerala Blasters FC in Match 59 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Friday. Going into the game, both teams will fancy their chances having won their last game. While the Kolkata-based club beat Bengaluru FC 1-0, Kerala Blasters FC got the better of Jamshedpur FC 3-2.

The last time these two teams met earlier this season, they shared the points after a 1-1 draw. Since that draw, SC East Bengal have maintained an unbeaten run, with two wins and as many draws. Kibu Vicuna's side, on the other hand, have won two and lost two since the draw against the Kolkata club last month.

The addition of Bright Enobakhare during the January transfer window has been a welcome boost for SC East Bengal. The hard-working Nigerian forward has scored twice for his side in three matches. He has four shots on target since his arrival on Indian shores and has completed 44 passes in his team’s attacking third. This highlights his high work rate which will come in handy against Kerala Blasters who have conceded 19 goals this season.

Bright has not been the only spark for SC East Bengal. The contribution of midfield has also been key to SC East Bengal’s upsurge in form of late. After scoring the winner over Bengaluru, Matti Steinmann has the same number of goals as Jacques Maghoma (3) and the German midfielder also has two assists to show for his hard work.

“We always try to progress; we always try to grow as a team this year …We have started to look a little better. We have started to grow into the games. We look more rounded team than we have been at the start. So, credit to the boys …But there is a whole way to go. We can not rest. We have got to keep trying to get the results that we want,” SC East Bengal head coach Robbie Fowler said ahead of the game.

Meanwhile, Kerala Blasters have also shown what they are capable of but inconsistent performances have left them second from bottom on the table. The Kochi-based club though will be buoyed by the performance of their striker Jordan Murray, who has stepped to the fore particularly of late.

The Australian forward has scored five of Kerala Blasters’ 13 goals this season, three more than

second-placed Gary Hooper. Two of these came in a span of three minutes against Jamshedpur as Kerala continued their trend of earning late points this season. Kerala Blasters have scored six goals in the final 15 minutes so far this season and the SC East Bengal defensive trio of Raju Gaikwad, Daniel Fox and Scott Neville will need to be at their best all through the match. 

"We are trying to improve the balance and trying not to concede goals while creating chances offensively. The most important is not conceding goals but to score against your opponent. If you concede but you score, the morale is high,” Kerala head coach Vicuna said ahead of the game.

Both teams have scored eight goals in their last five matches besides a clean sheet. With just one point separating the two, be rest assured that there will be no lack of motivation to win the game in either camp.

Squads:

SC East Bengal

Goalkeepers: Debjit Majumder, Sankar Roy, Mirshad Michu, Suvam Sen

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

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

Kerala Blasters FC

Goalkeepers: Albino Gomes, Bilal Husain Khan, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Muheet Khan

Defenders: Costa Nhamoinesu, Nishu Kumar, Bakary Kone, Jessel Carneiro, Sandeep Singh, Abdul Hakku, Lalruatthara

Midfielders: Sahal Abdul Samad, Vicente Gomez, Seityasen Singh, Rahul KP, Givson Singh, Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Yondrembem Denechandra, Arjun Jayaraj, Ayush Adhikari, Jeakson Singh, Prasanth Karuthadathkuni, Ritwik Das, Rohit Kumar, Juande

Forwards: Gary Hooper, Jordan Murray, Facundo Pereyra, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Shaiborlang Kharpan, Subha Ghosh

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 59: SC East Bengal vs Kerala Blasters FC

Date: January 15 (Friday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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