The Red and Gold face a struggling Sporting Clube de Goa in a high profile round 23 encounter in Kolkata...
East Bengal will lock horns with Sporting Clube de Goa in round 23 of the I-League at Salt Lake stadium, Kolkata on Sunday.
While East Bengal did manage a creditable win against high flying Rangdajied United who cut Salgaocar to pieces on Friday, their dreaded record of not having won two back-to-back matches this entire season saw them draw against Mumbai FC in their last game.
It has been nearly two years back on April, 2012 when the Kolkata outfit last triumphed over Sporting Clube 3-0 at the same venue.
“We will go for three points and climb up the ladder. There will not be any major changes in the team. Inconsistent performance of the boys have been due to their inadequate fitness level," pointed coach Armando Colaco.
"I still believe that the ILeague title race is still wide open and anything can happen," he added.
James Moga who is the top goal scorer for the club with seven goals has had a difficult run of games lately, is likely to miss due to a groin injury. Meanwhile Ryuji Sueoka shall replace Reisangmi Vashum after his fantastic display in the midweek while Naoba Singh is expected to start with Abhishek Das to be benched.
Despite not being able to grind out a victory in their last five I-League encounters, Sporting Clube de Goa are still mathematically in with a chance to win the title.
They currently have two games in hand over leaders Bengaluru FC (38 points) and face the current table toppers on the last day of the season, which increases the stakes of this game against East Bengal.
Oscar Bruzon stated that he is looking to bag full points against East Bengal.
“The teams rhythm was somewhat upset due to continuous games after the winter break. Inspite of injuries we will try to win," he said.
Sporting will look to striker Boima Karpeh who has netted twenty three goals this season in all competitions and Rowllin Borges who scored a wonder goal last week against Mohun Bagan. Ogba Kalu is a doubtful starter as he is yet to regain full fitness.
The last time the two teams met was in the recent Federation Cup, where Oscar Bruzon’s Sporting Goa edged past Armando Colaco’s East Bengal 2-1, courtesy of goals from Victorino Fernandes and Beeven D’Mello.