Bengaluru FC will lock horns with East Bengal FC at the Salt Lake Stadium in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 on April 7, at 7:30 pm IST. The Blues and the Red & Gold Brigade are ranked seventh and eighth in the points table respectively.

Bengaluru FC has 22 points from 20 games, whereas East Bengal FC has 21 of them from the same number of matches. They are breathing down the neck of the sixth-placed Chennaiyin FC (24), and the Marina Machans have also participated in 20 fixtures.

The Gerard Zaragoza-coached side had played out a goalless draw against Odisha FC in their previous game. East Bengal FC, on the other hand, beat Kerala Blasters FC by 4-2 in Kochi to storm back into contention to qualify for the playoffs.

This was only their second win in their last five games, whereas Bengaluru FC has been hovering around the top-six for a considerable period now. They will be playing the two Kolkata teams, i.e. East Bengal FC and Mohun Bagan Super Giant in their last two matches, and hence there is a formidable challenge fronting them to test their mettle of making it to the playoffs.

What’s at stake?

East Bengal FC

East Bengal FC had snapped their three-game-long losing streak with the victory over Kerala Blasters FC in the last match. A prospective win here will see them recording consecutive wins for the first time in the ISL. There has been a tangible transformation in the way East Bengal FC has gone about its business under the tutelage of Carles Cuadrat.

Their tally of 21 points and the total goals scored (24) until now are their highest ever numbers for EBFC in a single season of the ISL. East Bengal FC had 25.4% of their shots hit the target in the current ISL season, which is the second lowest amongst all sides, after Hyderabad FC (24.6%). To address this issue, the team will want its senior striker Cleiton Silva to step up and assume responsibility, as the Brazilian is currently enduring his longest-ever run of not scoring a goal in the ISL (6 matches).

Bengaluru FC

Bengaluru FC will be eyeing its first-ever league double over East Bengal FC in the ISL, having won the reverse fixture by a 2-1 margin. The Blues haven’t won any of their 10 away matches this season, drawing thrice and losing seven times in the process. A draw or a loss here will mean that this will be the first time that Bengaluru FC will pass an entire ISL season without winning an away league game.

Even Zaragoza has been unable to turn around their fortunes here, with the team having drawn once and lost thrice in the four games on the road that he has been at their helm of. All eyes will be on Spanish playmaker Javi Hernandez to deliver the goods in the final third yet again, given that he has won them nine points courtesy of the five goals that he has notched in the current campaign.

Key Players to Watch Out

Nishu Kumar (East Bengal FC)

Nishu Kumar has a duel success rate of 69.3% in current ISL season, the second highest such rate among all Indian players in the competition to have contested at least 50 duels. He has made three blocks, won eight tackles, 11 interceptions, and averaged 23 passes per game at 73% accuracy. Nishu has won 20 duels, 61 aerial ones, and also made 29 clearances in addition to 55 recoveries. Nishu has created 10 goal-scoring opportunities and also bagged a couple of assists, in what is a testament to the all-round performances that he has delivered on both ends of the pitch.

Javi Hernandez (Bengaluru FC)

Javi Hernandez has been a probing figure in the attacking half for Bengaluru FC. He has netted five times so far, averaging 24 passes per game at 77% accuracy this season. The Spaniard has taken 50% of his attempted shots on target, making 24 successful dribbles, and creating 27 goal-scoring opportunities across 19 appearances. Hernandez has made 77 recoveries, won 94 duels, and made eight interceptions in addition to 10 clearances, and winning 11 aerial duels. He is Bengaluru FC’s most prominent attacking threat and his contributions will be vital for them to have a positive outcome in the coming match.

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Played – 7

East Bengal FC – 3

Bengaluru FC – 3

Draws – 1 

Trivia: Bengaluru FC’s Naorem Roshan Singh averages 2.8 tackles per game (50 tackles in 18 matches) in the current ISL season, the highest among all players in the competition to have played at least 10 matches.

Team Talk

“We want to give our everything. We want to be motivated 100% as it will be a fight till end for the sixth position,” East Bengal FC head coach Carles Cuadrat mentioned before the game.

“We want to be proactive. You never know what happens in a game. We want to be attacking and take three points from the game tomorrow,” Bengaluru FC head coach Gerard Zaragoza said in the pre-match press conference.

ISL Fantasy

Cleiton Silva (6.1cr)

Has bagged 68 ISL fantasy points this season

Naorem Mahesh Singh (5.1cr)

Notched 10 ISL fantasy points in Matchweek 20

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (3.8cr)

Has been picked by 25% of the ISL fantasy users

If not registered already, fans can participate in the overall league or club-based leagues based on their preferences. Create private leagues, inviting friends and fellow football aficionados to compete. Prizes include a Sony PlayStation ®️ ️5 gaming console, EA Sports FC 24, signed club merchandise, and a Gift Card worth INR 20,000, which will be awarded to 100 winners at the end of the season. Sign up at:

Where to Watch

Fans across the country can catch the action in English, Hindi, Bengali, and Malayalam. Fans can watch the action on linear channels like Sports18 Khel (Hindi), Sports18 1 HD (English), Sports18 3 SD (English, Hindi, Malayalam and Bengali), VH1 SD & HD (English), Surya Movies (Malayalam), News 18 Kerala (Malayalam – select matches) & DD Bangla (Bengali). Fans can also catch the action streaming Live for free on JioCinema, the home of Indian football. In addition to this, as part of FSDL’s partnership with OneFootball, ISL live streams and highlights of all matches of the upcoming 2023-24 season will be delivered across more than 190 countries.