The Gaurs will eye a league double over the Red & Golds.
FC Goa earned a good win at home against Kerala Blasters to end their four-game winless run. The win consolidated the side’s presence among the top six as it took them to 23 points from 15 games. Playing their consecutive home game, the club will be keen for another win to build some momentum going into the business end of the league.
In their last game, East Bengal lost 2-0 to Hyderabad in Kolkata. On Thursday, it is expected that the side will be eyeing a win that has been elusive for the last three games. Any chance to finish among the top six is virtually over for the side from Kolkata. Hence, the club has nothing to lose and will be eyeing as many wins as possible from their remaining games.
Against such a backdrop, let us take a look at what the encounter has to offer.
FC Goa have a lot to play for in all of their remaining games. Their top-six finish is not guaranteed yet as a resurgent Bengaluru FC and Chennaiyin FC are trying to their best to bid for the same. The Gaurs will be weary of this looming threat from the lower-ranked teams. Hence, they will need three points from Thursday’s game to ensure that their place among the top six is secured.
FC Goa are currently placed fifth with 23 points from 15 games. A win will take them to 26 points, ahead of fourth-placed ATK Mohun Bagan by two points, who will have two more games in hand.
East Bengal have lost all of their last three games. For a club with a strong fan base, this fact alone is enough to explain the importance of Thursday’s game for East Bengal. They will be desperate for a win to give some relief to their fans. With nothing to lose, there is no doubt that East Bengal will give their 100 per cent to get a positive result on Thursday.
East Bengal are currently placed ninth with 12 points from 14 games. The side has won only four matches and lost all of the remaining 10. A win will take them to 15 points but it will not change their position on the table.
Injury & Team News
East Bengal have paid off Omid Singh’s dues but are yet to register their new signing Jake Jervis, although he has travelled with the squad.
FC Goa have Marc Valiente injured and as a replacement they have signed ISL veteran Hernan Santana. However, Santana won’t be available for the game against East Bengal, as he’ll arrive on Saturday (28th January). Also, new signing Lenny Rodrigues will be available to play against East Bengal.
To date, FC Goa and East Bengal have met five times in the ISL.
FC Goa – 2
East Bengal – 1
Drawn – 2
FC Goa (4-2-3-1)
Dheeraj Singh (GK); Aiban Dohling, Fares Arnout, Anwar Ali, Sanson Pereira; Lenny Rodrigues, Edu Bedia; Devendra Murgaonkar, Brandon Fernandes, Noah Sadaoui; Iker Guarrotxena
East Bengal (4-2-3-1)
Kamaljit Singh (GK); Ankit Mukherjee, Lalchungnunga, Ivan Gonzalez, Sarthak Golui; Alex Lima, Mobashir Rahman; VP Suhair, Jordan O’Doherty, Naorem Mahesh Singh; Cleiton Silva
Player to Watch
Noah Sadaoui (FC Goa)
Noah Sadaoui has been a revelation for FC Goa this season. This is the Moroccan’s first stint in India. He has been in scintillating form right from the word go. In their last game too, Noah looked threatening and scored a goal through a beautiful finish. Apart from the goal, he created numerous problems for Kerala’s defence due to which the Yellow Army conceded thrice.
Noah has six goals from 15 games and is the second-highest goal-scorer for FC Goa. If he is able to repeat his performance from the previous game, he will definitely be a menace for the struggling East Bengal defence.
Cleiton Silva (East Bengal)
Cleiton has been one of the bright spots for East Bengal this season. Even though the side is not able to win matches, Cleiton has been scoring tirelessly to give something positive to the fans. He is currently the joint highest goal-scorer in the league with nine goals. It will be stern contest against FC Goa, as he’ll have to come up against the likes of Anwar Ali and Fares Arnaout in order to snatch away a goal or two!
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Did You Know?
- Late drama took the stage as FC Goa defeated East Bengal in the reverse fixture in Kolkata towards the beginning of the ISL season.
- East Bengal’s solitary win in their previous campaign came against FC Goa.
- FC Goa finished eighth last season with 19 points from 20 games.
- East Bengal finished at the bottom in the previous season with only 11 points from their tally of 20 games.
The match between FC Goa and East Bengal will take place at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, locally known as Fatorda Stadium, Margaon, Goa, on January 26th (Thursday). The kick-off time is 7:30 PM IST. The game will be telecasted live on the Star Sports Network. Disney+HotStar and JioTV will also stream the match.