The Red and Gold will look to bounce back against the Goan side against whom they have a formidable record...Sporting Clube de Goa play host to East Bengal in a round nine I-League encounter at the Duler Stadium, Goa on Tuesday.
Oscar Barreras' side are in rich vein of form having ended Pune FC's unbeaten run over the weekend with a 2-0 victory. They could have inflicted further misery on the Red Lizards had it not been for the wastefulness of their strikers.
They will once again be bereft of the services of Boima Karpeh due to suspension following his attack on Collin Abranches in the game against Mohammedan Sporting. Jovel Martins is expected to be fit for the clash after missing out the last game.
"I have told the players to go out and enjoy the game, but stick to the game plan which I felt they did very well in our last match. We have to be consistent. It’s not good that we play well for two games and then the standard drops for the next match," said Barreras.
East Bengal have hit a rough patch of form with coach Marcos Falopa already feeling the heat just a few months into the job. Two losses at home against Dempo SC and Salgaocar FC have hurt the team's confidence and in the absence of Chidi Edeh and Ryuji Sueoka due to injury worries, Falopa will bank on James Moga and the likes of Baljit Sahni and Seimenlen Doungel for goals.
What has changed in the Red and Gold's set up is the system they play in ever since Trevor Morgan's departure. The Englishman preferred a 4-3-3 formation with three defensive players in Mehtab Hossain, Harmanjot Khabra and Ishfaq Ahmed.
However the Brazilian has opted for flair and skilful players in Lalrindika Ralte, Cavin Lobo in his line-up which has often left their defense exposed with neither of the two players tracking back to win the ball.
"It’s not so easy to turn things around. It will take time, Sporting are playing at home. They are on a good run, they just won against Pune FC, and know the conditions here. They are the clear favourites," said Falopa.
Expect a cracker of a game as East Bengal boast of arguably the strongest squad in the country while Sporting are masters of the pass-and-move brand of football.