Match 80 Preview: SC East Bengal aim to do the double over Bengaluru

SC East Bengal take on Bengaluru FC in Match 80 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Tuesday. The Kolkata-based club will hope to do the double over former Hero ISL champions Bengaluru, who are winless in their last eight matches.

Robbie Fowler’s side were unable to get past a 10-man FC Goa side and played out a 1-1 draw in their previous outing. In their last four matches, SC East Bengal have managed only two goals and none of them have come from open play.

Goal-scoring has been a concern for SC East Bengal all season and their failure to find the back of the net consistently has seen them struggle to win games. Their recent run of results has seen them draw six, win two and lose one of their last nine matches. Playing against a leaky Bengaluru defence, their attacking trio of Bright Enobakhare, Anthony Pilkington and Jacques Maghoma will hope to get in better goal-scoring positions to give their team a chance to win the three points.

"Bengaluru are currently going through a difficult situation but we have been in that position. They are like wounded animals and wounded animals can come and put up a fight. They have brought in an interim head coach and he is doing an okay job. I don't think we are favourites, because the table is very tight and anyone can beat anyone on a given day," SC East Bengal head coach Robbie Fowler said ahead of the game.

The Blues, meanwhile, will be disappointed after another poor defensive performance in their 2-2 draw against Hyderabad FC. Bengaluru were comfortably up by two goals and looked set for a win, but goals from Aridane Santana and Fran Sandaza in the final five minutes of the game snatched the victory from the Blues. The draw outlined Bengaluru’s defensive woes that have plagued them this season.

The Blues have failed to keep a clean sheet for 11 matches in a row and have managed just two shut outs all campaign. Their defence has conceded 19 goals in 14 matches so far and have squandered nine points from winning positions. The upcoming clash will see them playing without Juanan (injury) and Erik Paartalu (suspension), both of whom have been among their most imposing players during set-pieces in either box.

“We were upset to have dropped two points against Hyderabad FC. But we're going to try and be as positive as possible. All it takes is one win and I believe we'll be there and about in the race [for top four] again. We're going to work as hard as possible to make that happen. SC East Bengal have been creating some good chances but are lacking in the finishing department. Bright, Maghoma and the others are doing really well, and I know it won't be easy,” Bengaluru’s interim head coach Naushad Moosa said ahead of the game.

While SC East Bengal will look to improve in the attacking third, Bengaluru will hope for a better display in their defensive third. A win will take SC East Bengal above the Blues and put them in contention for a top-four spot, something which Moosa will hope to avoid. That said, Bengaluru are a side that have shown an improvement in their last three matches and a win for them might do wonders for their confidence in their push for a semi-final berth.

Squad

SC East Bengal

Goalkeepers: Debjit Majumder, Mirshad Michu, Suvam Sen, Subrata Paul

Defenders: Samad Mallick, 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 Joshua Holloway, Anthony Pilkington, Milan Singh, Haobam Singh, Ajay Chhetri

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

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, Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha, Amay Morajkar, Harmanjot Khabra, Cleiton Silva, Xisco Hernandez

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

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 80: SC East Bengal vs Bengaluru FC

Date: February 2 (Tuesday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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