Arguably the biggest match of the I-League 2018-19 will be played in Coimbatore on January 15th when league leaders Chennai City FC take on in-form East Bengal.
Chennai City have been a revelation in the I-League this season. After two disappointing seasons in the top tier of Indian football, the Southern outfit rediscovered themselves under the tutelage of experienced Singaporean coach Akbar Nawas.
They have arguably the best team in the league so far in terms of performance as well as their style of play.
The credit, of course, goes to head coach Nawas and his former assistant coach Jordi Villa who recruited four Spanish outfield players. The attacking trio of Nestor Gordillo, Sandro Rodriguez and Pedro Manzi have done wonders for the club and have put the club into the pole position.
Chennai are currently leading the league with 24 points from 11 matches. They have lost just once and since then have bounced back in style with some good positive results. But their task will not be easy on Monday when they face Alejandro Menendez’s East Bengal.
The Kolkata giants did not have a bright start to their league campaign as they lost three out of their first five matches, which includes a 2-1 defeat at home against Chennai. But as the league progressed, the team has started to deliver on the pitch.
Since their 1-0 defeat against Minerva Punjab, East Bengal have remained unbeaten in their last five matches out of which they have won four.
It will also be a battle of Spaniards when the two sides meet on Monday. While Chennai have five Spanish players in their starting XI, East Bengal have three. The majority of the think tank of the Kolkata giants consists of Spaniards.
A very interesting battle is on the cards when the Spaniards lock horns. Will Chennai’s Spanish brigade reign supreme once again or can East Bengal’s Spanish head turn the odds in their favour?
The Red and Golds might start the match on the sixth position but they have a game in hand as compared to the league leaders. Other titlechallengers such as Real Kashmir and NEROCA FC have played two more matches than East Bengal which puts the Red and Gold brigade in an advantageous position. A win in Coimbatore will push East Bengal a step forward towards the clinching their maiden I-League title.