Match 91 Preview: SC East Bengal face Hyderabad FC as they look to keep bleak semi-final hopes alive

SC East Bengal will be eyeing consecutive wins in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 when they take on Hyderabad FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Friday. The Kolkata club have an outside chance of qualifying for the semis but need to win all of their remaining matches to still be in the top four reckoning, while Hyderabad currently find themselves occupying one of the semi-final spots and will need to win against SC East Bengal to strengthen their position.

The two teams were involved in a five-goal thriller earlier in the campaign which Hyderabad won 3-2. Manuel Marquez’s men will be eager for a similar result as they target completing the double over the Red and Gold Brigade. Unbeaten in their last eight matches, Hyderabad are one of the in-form teams in the league and will be eager for a win having secured just three victories during their unbeaten run.

A well-balanced side that has plenty of goal-scorers in the team as well as a solid defence, Hyderabad have netted 20 times this season and have kept four clean sheets in their last six games. They perhaps have the best contingent of young Indian players and also boast a dynamic bench with plenty of depth that’s made a difference to their side’s fortunes on more than one occasion this season.

"It's a very tough game because you know that they started the season late because they were the last team to join the Hero ISL. I remember after five or six games, they had only one or two points. They changed a lot of players and now they have very good foreigners. They have signed one of the best players in this league, Bright. We have to try to avoid SC East Bengal playing the kind of football they play, for example, the way they played against Jamshedpur FC. But of course, we have to talk about our team,” Marquez said ahead of the game.

SC East Bengal, meanwhile, will know that there is no room for error and need to win all their remaining games to have an outside shot at making the semis. Robbie Fowler’s men have demonstrated their mental strength by bouncing back after a poor start to the campaign but need to find consistency and go on a run of positive results between now and the end of the league stage.

The Kolkata club’s foreign imports have carried the team for most of the season with no domestic talents managing to score for them yet. Matti Steinmann, in particular, has been exceptional for them at the center of the park having contributed four goals and three assists. He along with Anthony Pilkington, Bright Enobakhare and Jacques Maghoma are the club’s main attacking threats, while the centre-half pairing Daniel Fox and Scott Neville has been integral to their defence.

Fowler, who is serving a four-game suspension, though will be demanding more from his domestic players as SC East Bengal look to end the league stage on a high. He will be hoping that his Indian talents can take a leaf out of their Hyderabad counterparts who have made more goal contributions (14) than any other team in the league.

“I rate them really highly, more highly than I rate most of the clubs. They have recruited over the last two years really well and they have developed some really good, young players. It’s going to be a tough game. When the first time we played, we gave them a helping hand, they scored two goals in seconds. It wasn’t great play by them, it was more poor play by us why they scored. But they are going to give us a good challenge. They have got a lot of young players and they are a few points ahead of us, so they have got more to hold on to,” SC East Bengal assistant coach Tony Grant said ahead of the game.   

Squads:

SC East Bengal

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

Defenders: Daniel Fox, Scott Neville, Narayan Das, Gurtej Singh, N Rohen Singh, Lalramchullova, Rana Gharami, Anil Chawan, Raju Gaikwad, Ankit Mukherjee, Sarthak Golui

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, Sourav Das

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

Hyderabad FC

Goalkeepers: Lalbiakhlua Jongte, Laxmikant Kattimani, Manas Dubey, Sankar Roy

Defenders: Akash Mishra, Asish Rai, Chinglensana Singh, Dimple Bhagat, Kynsailang Khongsit, Nikhil Prabhu, Odei Onaindia, Sahil Panwar

Midfielders: Abhishek Halder, Sahil Tavora, Halicharan Narzary, Hitesh Sharma, Joao Victor, Laldanmawia Ralte, Lluis Sastre, Mark Zothanpuia, Mohammed Yasir, Nikhil Poojary, Souvik Chakrabarti, Sweden Fernandes, Roland Alberg

Forwards: Aridane Santana, Fran Sandaza, Ishan Dey, Joel Chianese, Lalawmpuia, Liston Colaco, Rohit Danu

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 91: SC East Bengal vs Hyderabad FC

Date: February 12 (Friday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

 

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