Title contenders East Bengal and NEROCA FC lock horns on the final matchday of the I-League 2017/18 season in Kolkata on Thursday.
Fourth-placed East Bengal have to win the match and then depend on the results of Minerva Punjab and Mohun Bagan who face Churchill Brothers and Gokulam Kerala FC respectively. The Red and Golds can only bring home the title if both the teams drop points.
Speaking about his vital fixture, East Bengal coach Khalid Jamil said, "This is our last match of the season, we are playing at home so we have to be positive. I am not doing any calculation, this is the last game so we have to get three points. Let’s see what happens next. I am only thinking about what is under my control."
East Bengal were held to a 2-2 draw by Shillong Lajong in their previous match which complicated thingsfurther for the Kolkata giants in the title race. The backline failed miserably at Shillong as Lajong came back from behind twice in that game.
On asked if he would bring in some changes to his lineup, Jamil said, "I can bring some changes in the starting XI. The team played a match just two days back. So we need fresh pair of legs, at least two, three players."
The East Bengal coach clearly mentioned that he considers Minerva Punjab to be the title favourites as they are at the top of the table. "Minerva are at the top of the table, they have the maximum points so they are favourites definitely," said Khalid.
The coach further suggested that there is no pressure on his side ahead of this all-important clash. He said, "There is no pressure on us. We have to do well in our last match. I am not thinking about pressure. NEROCA are a good team they are also fighting for the championship. They are playing well and are defensively very strong. Our finishing must improve. Lets us see what happens."