Confident East Bengal host high flying Chennai City in I-League clash
Written by: Sourav Neogi
Both the sides are still unbeaten in the league.
Kolkata giants East Bengal take on league leaders Chennai City FC at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday evening. The game is being regarded as one of the most high profile fixtures in the I-League this season, with the table toppers and the second place holders going toe-to-toe in search of valuable three points.
Since the beginning of the season, East Bengal have looked to be a completely refurbished side with their new Spanish head coach, Alejandro Menéndez at the helm. The Red and Gold Brigade have played mouth-watering football and have won both of their games and sit in the second place of the league table.
On the other hand, Chennai City's rise as the surprise package of the season have not gone unnoticed by fans and pundits alike throughout the country. The southerners' Spanish flair in the gameplay have allowed them to put up commendable displays and will be a tough nut to crack for the Kolkata giants on Tuesday evening.
Alejandro Menéndez (East Bengal)
The East Bengal head coach was asked about his opponents Chennai City FC when he answered, "This is a good team. They have got food results in first three matches. It will be a difficult game for us."
However, the Spaniard seemed confident of facing the table-toppers on Tuesday evening. "After these two matches team has good confidence. We are expecting to win the home match."
"We expect the fans to come in numbers. We have to win the game," he added.
"All matches in the league are difficult. But this match is especially difficult because Chennai come in with a good away result. So they will be full of confidence," Menéndez opined.
The East Bengal gaffer was asked about the importance of the game when he replied, "The position in the table is not important. Important is that we will fight for three points. We have to win all the matches."
"They have good players some good Spanish players. I have seen them play," he added.
The Spaniard was asked about the current status of East Bengal's ace midfielder Mahmoud Al-Amna when he answered, "Al Amna is slowly recovering. We can't speak more than that."
"I am very satisfied with the performance of all players. Our target is to improve the performance of all the players not just the players who start but the entire squad," he concluded.
Akbar Nawas (Chennai City FC)
The Chennai City tactician had a similar mindset going into the game against East Bengal. When asked about Tuesday's game Nawas said, "I have mentioned before that when we go for a game we always go for the win. In every game, we look forward to win."
"For us we should not get overconfident. In Football everything changes very fast. We are a new team. One game at a time. We will try to win tomorrow," he added.
The Singaporean head coch was asked about East Bengal when he opined, "East Bengal have a rich history. Especially being a home game they will try to win. They have won two matches they will try to continue the momentum. We have to be careful."
Chennai City's ace striker Pedro Manzi picked up a knock against Gokulam Kerala in their last game. When asked about his availability against East Bengal, Nawas revealed, "Manzi not sure whether he will start the game. We have to see if he can play tomorrow. We will conduct some physical tests and take the call. Injury just below hamstring."
The southerners did not have a soothing experience against East Bengal in the last season as the Red and Gold brigade hammered them 7-1 last time the two sides faced each other. When asked about it Nawas said, "Last season we had a different team. What happened last season is past."
"East Bengal team is different too from last season. It's a totally different game. We have to prepare ourselves according to their strength and strategy."0
"We have to take note of their players of course. I cannot just mark only the foreign players. All players are important. We cannot just focus on particular players. If we do that EB can hurt us," he signed off with.
Apart from Mahmoud Al-Amna who is currently recovering, the hosts do not have any major injury concerns as they prepare to take on high flying Chennai City FC.
Chennai City FC
Pedro Manzi is set to be back against East Bengal whereas Ameerudeen can be a viable option up front for the southerners if their ace Spanish striker is absent from the game.
East Bengal- Dagar (GK), Chullova, Acosta, Borja, Manoj, Kamalpreet, Dika, Danmawia, Esqueda, Brandon, Justin
Chennai City FC- Kabir (GK), Roberto, Sandro, Edwin, Jesuraj, Charles, Gaurav, Nestor, Pravitto, Kamaraj, Manzi
The game will be telecasted live at 5 PM on Tuesday on Star Sports 3 along with Hotstar and Jio TV.
Published: Mon Nov 12, 2018 05:57 PM IST