Both sides will be keen to bounce back from their recent defeats.

This week’s Friday night clash will witness NorthEast United take on eastern neighbours SC East Bengal at the PJN Stadium in Fatorda. Both sides will hope to pull off a comeback following a couple of disheartening results. NorthEast United and SC East Bengal have had poor starts to their respective campaigns and currently find themselves in the bottom half of the table. It is hence important that they start winning, from tomorrow onwards – if they harbour hopes of finishing in the top four.

The Stakes

The Highlanders clinched their first victory of the campaign against FC Goa after an anticlimactic start to their season. But, were soon handed a reality check by Odisha FC and Hyderabad FC with two back-to-back defeats. They were poor at the back, in the middle of the park and also in front of the goal. Khalid Jamil’s side have delivered below-par performances to say the least and are yet to hit top gear.

Things have just not gone their way this season. From a season-ending injury to their main man Federico Gallego to heart-breaking defeats, they’ve seen it all just six matches into the season. Injuries to other key players have also played a big part in their downfall. They’ve conceded 13 goals and have not scored even half of that. Problems are plenty for Khalid Jamil’s side, but they’ll try to turn this around come Friday.

Things are pretty similar for the Kolkata giants as well. They find themselves at the bottom of the league table, with three draws and defeats each. East Bengal come into this game on the back of a lucky 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters.

Manolo Diaz’s side have had major problems at the back and have the poorest defensive record in the league so far. They’ve conceded 15 goals, but have also scored nine. The Red and Gold are in search of their first victory this season and will want to achieve it against the Highlanders.

Team News

Deshorn Brown and Khassa Camara are both doubtful, as they missed the last match against Hyderabad FC.

For SC East Bengal, captain Arindam Bhattacharya and winger Jackichand Singh might be unavailable, as they’re nursing long-term injuries.

Head-to-Head

Both sides have come up against each other just twice in the ISL and both the matches have gone in favour of the Highlanders. The last time these two came up against each other, NorthEast United emerged victorious with a 2-1 win in February, 2021.

Probable Lineups

NorthEast United: Roy Chowdhury (GK); Zoherliana, Shereef, Flottmann, Gurjinder Kumar; Gogoi, Santana (C), Imran; Rochharzela, Coureur, Suhair.

SC East Bengal: Sen (GK); Lourenco, Adil, Prce, Mondal; Amarjit, Dervisevic, Md. Rafique Naorem Mahesh Singh; Perosevic, Chima.

Man to Watch

Hernan Santana (NorthEast United)

The Spaniard has been the best overseas recruit for the Highlanders this season. He has won two Man of the Match awards for his top-notch shifts on the pitch.

The 31-year-old has been cool, calm and solid every time he has operated as a centre-back. Santana has played in the midfield and also in the backline, which is am added advantage for Khalid Jamil.

Antonio Perosevic (SC East Bengal)

The Croat is one of East Bengal’s most prized assets. He is constant threat in their attacking unit with his trickery, pace and goalscoring ability.

The winger has created multiple chances and has recorded two goals and one assist in the process. His ability to play anywhere across the frontline and switch positions in games has troubled a few teams.

Did You Know?

  • SC East Bengal have conceded an own-goal in all the fixtures that they’ve played against NorthEast United.
  • Out of the 102 goals scored in the league so far, 28 have been scored against NorthEast United and East Bengal.
  • NorthEast United boast a 100% record against the Red and Gold.

Telecast

The match will be played at the Fatorda Stadium on 17th December at 7:30 PM. It will be telecasted on Star Sports 1, Star Sports 1 HD, Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD and will be streamed on Disney+Hotstar and Jio TV.

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