The Red and Gold are unbeaten in the league so far…
After an unexpected draw in the Kolkata Derby in their previous game, East Bengal are set to lock horns with Shillong Lajong on Wednesday hoping to get back to winning ways. The Kolkata giants have been a force to reckon with in the league this season, vying for I-League glory with six wins already in the bag.
The Kolkata-based club has secured 20 points from eight outings and are positioned at the top of the league table.
On the other hand, Shillong Lajong have had a tedious start to their league campaign this year, losing the first three matches. However, the Reds were quick to turn around their form, winning four of their last five league games and securing a place in the top four. The Meghalaya-based team are currently sitting in the fourth position in the league table, following East Bengal, Mohun Bagan and Aizawl FC.
Injuries have been a real concern for the Red and Gold brigade since the beginning of the season as the hosts will be missing key squad members such as Cavin Lobo, Bikash Jairu and Anwar Ali against Shillong Lajong on Wednesday.
However, the absence of suspensions among the Red and Gold’s ranks will leave coach Trevor Morgan without any further concerns about re-arranging the tactical display against Lajong.
Shillong Lajong too have no injuries in their ranks and boss Thangboi Singto has a full squad to pick from as thy look to continue their good run of form.
Head to Head
East Bengal and Shillong Lajong has faced off 16 times in all competitions to date. East Bengal have won just once more than the northeastern rivals in the encounters with seven wins under their belt compared to Lajong’s six wins over them. The remaining three matches were drawn between these two teams.
The last time these two teams faced each other in a competitive match was on 4th May of the previous year in a Federation Cup fixture, East Bengal winning the match by the margin of 2-1.
Man to Watch
Wedson Anselme-East Bengal: The Haitian forward has been taking the league by storm since the beginning of the campaign last month. The former Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi forward has made appearances in every league game East Bengal have played this season and scored five goals till now.
The 30-year old forward has proved himself to be a solid playmaker for East Bengal this season and will be a threat to the Lajong defense in the next match. A master of trickery, Wedson has also been a handful in distributing pinpoint passes which have resulted into important goals for East Bengal this season.
The Haiti international is also widely regarded for his sudden bursts of pace in the opposition final third and considering the form of the Lajong defense this season, East Bengal’s marquee foreign player is expected to cause a lot of trouble for the team on Wednesday.
Asier Pierrick Dipanda Dicka-Shillong Lajong: The former DSK Shivajians forward is currently enjoying a purple patch in his career. The Cameroonian forward has scored seven goals in the league this season and is the top scorer of the I-League. Dipanda is a well-known figure in the country for his goal scoring ability, pace, runs both on and off the ball.
A visionary footballer, Dipanda is also a master of pinpoint passes which have been effective for Shillong Lajong to score important goals in the league this season. If he displays a similar performance as in the last few games, Dipanda is sure to steal all the limelight for himself against East Bengal on Wednesday.
East Bengal FC (4-1-2-1-2): Rehenesh (GK), Bheke, Gurwinder, Bukenya, Das, Mehtab, Jackichand, Poojary, Wedson, Plaza, Payne.
Shillong Lajong FC (4-2-3-1): Kaith (GK), S.Singh, Tamang, K.Singh, Shadap, Nongrum, Vanmalsawma, Kinowaki, Deory, B.Singh, Dipanda.
The game is Live on Ten 2 at 04:30pm IST.