The southern outfit would hope to dish out the performance which shall seal a berth in the final four…
This has by far been the worst campaign for East Bengal who have performed well at the Federation Cup over the last five years or so. On the brink of elimination with just a point to show for their efforts in two matches, the Red and Gold brigade would hope that Sporting Clube de Goa and Rangdajied United play out a draw which shall give them a reason to go full strength in their final group B fixture in order to snatch three points at the expense of Bengaluru FC.
They would have to beat the I-League table toppers by a 2-0 margin, a feat they have achieved twice already this season in Kolkata and at Bangalore.
Coach Armando Colaco has defended the performance of his side and has time and again stressed on the need to give his players an extended break before the I-League resumes if they have any hopes of mounting a title challenge.
James Moga has been amongst the chances but hasn’t had luck favouring him with a couple of times the woodwork coming in the way. He would hope to excel against Bengaluru FC against whom he already has two goals to show.
Chidi Edeh has been off colour to say the least while Saumik Dey’s performance has left much to be desired as their left flank has been defensively susceptible, a fact acknowledged by Colaco.
“We conceded both the goals on the left side, but I don't want to talk about the negative side,” he said following the 2-1 defeat to Sporting Clube de Goa.
On the other hand, Bengaluru FC would wonder as to what has gone wrong with them since taking the 4-0 lead in their first tie. They allowed Sporting to launch a late comeback as the opposition scored thrice and against Rangdajied United, they once again took the lead only to let them score the equalizer late in the game.
What would worry coach Ashley Westwood is that Lamine Tamba scored a header against his side, who are known to be strong in the air.
The fledgling club will take heart from the fact that Rino Anto and Beikhekhei Beingacchio on the right flank have performed well and will look to make the most of East Bengal’s worries down the left.
Should one amongst Sporting or Rangdajied win the first game on Tuesday, East Bengal’s hopes of making into the final four would go up in the air.
In that case, Colaco is likely to field youngsters, as he has openly mentioned which shall give Bengaluru an undue advantage, thanks to the All India Football Federation (AIFF) not having the final round of group fixtures simultaneously.
“We are well aware of East Bengal’s capabilities as we have played them twice this season. It will be a very entertaining game and hopefully, the lads can reproduce the performance levels that they have show through the season this far,” said Westwood.
Bengaluru FC remain the favourites though the tide could swing East Bengal’s way should the results go in their favour.
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