The Highlanders are desperate to keep up in the race to finish in the top four.
Coming off a bitter Kolkata Derby defeat, SC East Bengal will look to finish the Indian Super League season on a high in their penultimate game against top four hopefuls NorthEast United on Tuesday.
The Highlanders will be vying for a win that can boost their playoffs hopes and a win can greatly increase their chances of doing so. However, Robbie Fowler’s side are now winless in two and can only aim to play spoilsport with a win.
At this point, East Bengal have nothing to lose. They can only try to win their remaining games to at least end a below-par season on a positive note. Moreover, with the Red annd Gold guaranteed to change up their squad next season, many players will be fighting to keep their spot beyond the campaign.
For the domestic stars, the last two games are their final chance to impress the management and prove that they deserve to stay beyond the season. As a result, the game against a sturdy side like NorthEast is a big opportunity for the majority of the East Bengal team to prove their ability with a powerful performance – because another bland show could seal their fate.
NorthEast, on the other hand, are at the other end of the spectrum in the ISL and are fighting to keep up in the top four race. If Hyderabad FC drop points against ATK Mohun Bagan, this is going to be the Highlanders’ biggest opportunity to take one step forward into the playoffs.
As Khalid Jamil squares up against his former side, he can’t allow the Highlanders to become complacent. He must beware of how big a threat this East Bengal side – who have nothing to lose, can pose. They must bring their very best to the table and get a win because anything else could greatly jeopardize their dreams of a top four finish.
SC East Bengal don’t have any injury issues right now after coming off the derby unscathed.
The Highlanders missed star man Federico Gallego through injury against Chennaiyin FC and the Uruguayan remains a doubt for this one.
These two sides have only met once in their ISL history, with NorthEast defeating SC East Bengal 2-0 in their last meeting earlier this season.
SC East Bengal: Subrata (GK); Golui, Gaikwad, Fox, Ankit; Das, Narayan, Steinmann, Enobakhare; Pilkington
NorthEast United: Chowdhary (GK); Mehta, Lambot, Shareef, Lakra; Camara, Lalengmawia, Khan, Machado; Brown, Gallego
Players to Watch
Bright Enobakhare (SC East Bengal)
Even in a disappointing evening for nearly the entire SC East Bengal side in the Kolkata Derby, Bright Enobakhare was one of the rare ones to shine through. The former Wolves man is undoubtedly the Red & Gold Brigade’s brightest attacking prospect right now and causes genuine trouble to defenders with his dribbling and pace.
Enobakhare will look to be a terror for NorthEast’s defenders, with his movement, dribbling and impactful style guaranteed to hurt the attack-minded Highlanders. Enobakhare just needs to improve his decision-making in the final third and if he gets that right on Tuesday, he should be a real thorn for NorthEast’s backline.
Luis Machado (NorthEast United)
Coming into the game with three goals in his last two games, Luis Machado is turning up big for NorthEast United when it matters the most. The Portuguese winger has been playing with a spring in his step as of late and seems to be at the core of everything good which the Highlanders do on the attacking front.
With his impressive presence in counter-attacks and clinical nature in the final third, Machado will again aim to be at the forefront to lead NorthEast’s attack – be it with or without Gallego. He’ll need to be at his hungriest for the Highlanders to pick up a big win and take a step closer to the playoffs.
Did You Know?
- Bright Enobakhare has made 45 dribbles in the ISL this season, more than any other player in the league.
- Federico Gallego (6) has made the third-most assists among any player in the ISL this season.
- NorthEast United are yet to lose a single game under Khalid Jamil. They had lost three under Gerard Nus.
The match between SC East Bengal and NorthEast United FC is set to be telecast live on Star Sports 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 2 SD & HD (English), Star Sports Hindi 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 3 and several other regional languages. Live streaming of the match will be available on Hotstar and Jio TV.