The Red and Golds are winless in 15 matches overall.
Unbeaten in their last three games, FC Goa will look to climb up the ladder when they are scheduled to take on winless SC East Bengal in the 2021-22 Indian Super League at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Wednesday.
FC Goa haven’t really burst to life under Derrick Pereira, but the veteran coach has managed to remain unbeaten in the last three outings, playing out a 1-1 draw against NorthEast United FC in their last game. Jorge Ortiz has looked extremely sharp for the Gaurs even though they had the likes of Edu Bedia and Ivan Gonzalez missing against NorthEast United.
A win on Wednesday will see Goa move up from the bottom half of the table and close the gap on the top four teams, and against SC East Bengal they will fancy their chances.
“When I came in, I did not want to change too much. We kept the same formation, the 3-4-3 system but just adjusted the structure and the boys have responded well. There is always scope for improvement and we will look to do well in the coming days,” said Derrick Pereira on the eve of the game.
Speaking on the opponents, Pereira added, “Defensively, in the last three matches they have fought well. Instead of focusing more on them, we will look at the details where we get the better of them and break their defence and at the same time see that we keep a good balance to counter their attacks. It is just another game, we have to go with a plan and get the best result.”
SC East Bengal
SC East Bengal showed defensive solidity under interim coach Renedy Singh and held fort until the very end against Jamshedpur FC before conceding in the dying minutes of the second half. But the red and golds have had no attacking teeth whatsoever with striker Daniel Chima Chukwu also jumping ship to Jamshedpur. They have roped in Brazilian striker Marcelo Ribeiro dos Santos but he won’t be available for selection against FC Goa. In their 11 league games, SC East Bengal have failed to score in five games.
SC East Bengal have new coach Mario Rivera back at the helm though and the Spaniard will have his task cut out with the team rooted to the foot of the table having just six points from 11 engagements. Rivera guided East Bengal to a second-place finish in the I-League two seasons back.
“It is going to be my first challenge in the ISL and my first job is to change the mood of the team when it is not going through a good time. The table does not reflect the quality of the side. Now, we have to get the best performances out of the player and hopeful of changing our position on the table,” Rivera said, in his first pre-match interaction.
The last time the two sides met this season, FC Goa edged past their rivals 4-3 in a high-octane encounter.
FC Goa: Covid concerns must be there since Edu Bedia and Ivan Gonzalez had to be removed from the squad at the very last moment in the previous fixture.
SC East Bengal: The likes of Jackichand Singh and Darren Sidoel got some minutes under their belt last match, but the Red and Gold still find themselves suffering from a lot of injuries. Raju Gaikwad, Joyner Lourenco, Franjo Prce and Tomislav Mrcela have been recovering. Marcelo isn’t ready yet. Meanwhile, Adil Khan got a fresh knock in their last fixture, though Khan has been seen training. Covid concerns are relevant in the camp as well.
Head to Head
FC Goa and SC East Bengal have faced each other thrice in the Indian Super League prior to this fixture. The Gaurs have won in only one of those occasions, while the other two fixtures ended as a 1-1 draw.
FC Goa: Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem (GK); Leander D’Cunha, Anwar Ali, Aibanbha Dohling, Alexander Romario Jesuraj; Glan Martins, Alberto Noguera, Princeton Rebello, Saviour Gama; Airam Cabrera, Jorge Ortiz.
SC East Bengal: Arindam Bhattacharya (GK); Amarjit Singh, Ankit Mukherjee, Franjo Prce, Hira Mondal; Sourav Das, Wahengbam Angousana, Jackichand Singh, Amir Dervisevic; Semboi Haokip, Balwant Singh.
Did You Know?
- SC East Bengal are yet to defeat FC Goa in the ISL.
- SC East Bengal’s last win in the ISL came on 7 th February, 2021, against Jamshedpur FC. They are on a 15-match winless streak.
- FC Goa edged SC East Bengal 4-3 in their last meeting.
The FC Goa vs SC East Bengal match will be played at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim. The game will be telecast live on the Star Sports Network. The match will also be live streamed on the Disney+Hotstar platform and the JioTV app.