The Red & Golds earned their only win last season against the Gaurs.
Wednesday will be the first time East Bengal fans will cheer for their favourite team at home for an ISL fixture. The last two seasons were held in Goa behind closed doors. Hence, fans were denied the opportunity to back the team in the stadium even though they had made their ISL debut in 2020. On the other hand, after a poor last season, FC Goa will be looking to make amends by putting in a solid start against a vulnerable East Bengal. Similar to East Bengal, FC Goa fans will also want this season to be successful in a bid to forget what happened last year.
For East Bengal, the 2022-23 season is of utmost importance. They had fared very poorly in the last two editions of the league and would not like a repetition of the same this year. For a century-old club with millions of supporters, having one poor season is bad enough, and East Bengal had two consecutive ones, the last year seeing them hit rock bottom.
The year 2022 was full of turmoil for the club as it saw a change in its ownership. This season too, the team did not play well in their first game against KBFC and lost 3-1. Thus, Wednesday’s game is of paramount importance to the team and its fans. They would be desperate to win the game and open their account for the season.
The story of FC Goa had been quite similar to that of East Bengal last year. They finished ninth on the table, only above East Bengal and NorthEast United. They would like to change their fortunes this year. Their intent is quite evident from the many changes of guard seen at the club before the onset of the season, most notable of which was the return of Carlos Pena as the club’s head coach.
Apart from a change in the hot seat, the club executed many high-profile signings, examples of which include Alvaro Vazquez and Marc Valiente. With East Bengal losing their first game, FC Goa would like to take advantage of East Bengal’s many on-field vulnerabilities to make a solid start to the league by registering their first victory.
As per reports, none of the teams are facing any injury concerns. With East Bengal already beginning the season, most of their players have gained a bit of match practice and they would be roaring to go on in their second game with their preferred playing 11. Also, Aniket Jadhav has been demoted to the reserve team, reportedly.
For FC Goa, as it is their first game of the season, there is no worry regarding any player being injured. However, as FC Goa fielded their reserve side in the Durand Cup, many of their senior team players might be a bit rusty. Yet, it is expected from Pena that he would field a strong side and sub in senior players in case they miss the first eleven.
To date, East Bengal and FC Goa have met 4 times, all of them being in the ISL. Among these, East Bengal has won one match, FC Goa has won one match, and the other two matches were draws.
East Bengal: Kamaljit Singh (GK), Mohammad Rakip, Lalchungnunga, Ivan Gonzalez (C), Jerry Lalrinzuala, Sumeet Passi, Jordan O’Doherty, Alex Lima, Tuhin Das, V.P. Suhair, Cleiton Silva
FC Goa: Dheeraj Singh (GK), Seriton Fernandes, Anwar Ali, Marc Valiente, Aiban Dohling, Edu Bedia, Glan Martins, Makan Winkle Chothe, Brandon Fernandes (C), Iker Guarrotxena, Alvaro Vazquez
Man to Watch
Cleiton Silva (East Bengal)
After Cleiton’s brace in their final game of the Durand Cup against Mumbai City FC, he has become a beacon of hope for the club. The fans will expect him to score goals in the league. Cleiton is an established ISL star and has already shown what he can do. Thus, it would not be a big statement to say that he alone can change the course of a game, which is exactly what the Red & Golds would want on Wednesday. Pena would also be wary of this looming threat of East Bengal and would definitely like to stop him from scoring.
Alvaro Vazquez (FC Goa)
One of the most talked about transfers of the season was that of Vazquez’s. After having a brilliant season with Kerala Blasters last year, it was a surprise for many when Goa announced his signing. Undoubtedly, FC Goa and its fans will be looking at him for goals. As seen in his last year’s performance, Vazquez is a very good footballer with an eye for the goal. He has a knack for scoring spectaculars. He too, is able to change a game’s course single-handedly. Thus, the Gaurs would like to see how he fits into their system and repeats what he had done last year for Kerala.
Did You Know?
- East Bengal had won only one game last season, and it was against FC Goa.
- This will be the first time East Bengal fans would be watching an ISL game at the stadium.
- Carlos Pena played for FC Goa from 2018 to 2020, winning the ISL Shield in the 2019-20 season. This season is going to be his first as a manager.
The match between East Bengal and FC Goa will take place at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan, also known as Salt Lake Stadium, in Kolkata on October 12 (Wednesday). The kick-off time is 7:30 pm IST. The match will be telecasted live on the Star Sports Network. Disney+HotStar and JioTV will also stream the match.
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