Minerva Punjab will look to add another win at the Tau Devi Lal stadium in Panchkula, Punjab, when they host East Bengal in an I-League clash on Tuesday afternoon.
|Game||Minerva Punjab v East Bengal|
|Date||Tuesday, February 13|
|Time||2:00 PM IST (GMT +5:30)|
TV CHANNELS & LIVE STREAM
The Star Sports Network have the exclusive broadcasting rights of the I-League. All the matches will be telecast live on Star Sports 2 and 2 HD.
|India TV channels||Online streams|
|Star Sports 2/2HD||Hotstar/JioTV|
Injured: Rahul Das
Key Players: Chencho Gyeltshen, Bali Gagandeep, Sukhdev Singh
Key Players: Dudu Omagbemi, Mahmoud Al Amna, Katsumi Yusa
TITLE RACE SCENARIO
Minerva Punjab are currently occupy the number one spot with six more points than the third-placed visitors (23) with both sides having played 13 games each. Sandwiched between them are NEROCA FC who have 28 points but from 15 matches.
The result of Tuesday’s clash between Minerva and East Bengal will have a massive impact on the title race.
A win will take the Ranjit Bajaj-owned side four points ahead of NEROCA and nine points would separate them from East Bengal.
Assuming NEROCA will win their remaining three games, which includes a game against the Red and Golds, they would have a maximum of 37 points. If East Bengal loses on Tuesday and win all of their remaining four games, they would have a maximum of 35 points.
The first leg tie between East Bengal and Minerva had ended in a 2-2 draw. Should East Bengal win on Tuesday against Minerva and also win their remaining four matches, the north Indian side would need a minimum of 10 points from four matches to clinch the title.
Minerva Punjab will want to make the most of their four consecutive home games in Panchkula. They started off by edging Shillong Lajong 3-2 on Wednesday.
Khogen Singh may continue with Rakshit Dagar in between the sticks to be able to field five foreigners in the outfield, including former East Bengal midfielder Bazou (Bazie) Armand.
Chencho Gyeltshen is expected to continue on the right wing and two-goal hero Gagandeep Bali as the number nine. The Bhutanese can switch flanks as and when required in the game.
One may expect Miernva to keep East Bengal's attack at bay as the Red and Golds will look to attack in numbers. They have a familiar face in Bazie Armand to stop his former side from getting away with three points. Guy Eric Dano and Sukhdev Singh have been solid at the back though they have not kept a clean-sheet in their last three matches.
East Bengal will want to keep themselves in the title race with a win over Minerva Punjab. Jamil's men were fortunate to clinch a win against Indian Arrows last weekend, courtesy an injury time (90+2') goal scored by Dudu Omagbemi. However, more will be expected from Ansumana Kromah in front of goal.
The good news for the visitors is that Mahmoud Al Amna would be back which will mean that Jobby Justin may start from the bench. The Syrian's pairing with Katsumi Yusa can give any opponent a tough day at the office. Laldanmawia Ralte and Cavin Lobo are expected to be the creative outlets.
Who is going to take the advantage in the title race - Minerva Punjab or East Bengal?