East Bengal will be hoping to brush aside the memories of a lacklustre display in their 0-0 draw against Mohun Bagan in the ‘Kolkata Derby’ last Sunday and get back to winning ways when they lock horns with Southern Samity on Thursday afternoon.
To everyone’s surprise, coach Alejandro Menendez adopted a negative approach in their last game against arch-rivals Mohun Bagan. Their talismanic winger Jaime Santos Colado was left out, while young Ronaldo Oliviera was given a start alongside Marcos de la Espada upfront in the high-voltage clash.
The strategy backfired as East Bengal created a handful of chances in the match. Even though Ronaldo made an inspiring run in the first half, the Spaniard was kept quiet by Bagan’s disciplined defenders. The introduction of Colado and Vidyasagar Singh in the 71st minute did not help either. The Red and Gold brigade were lucky to not end up on the losing side last weekend.
The 39-time champions are still in a comfortable position in the title race; they need a win against Southern Samity to get back on track in the championship race. Southern Samity are relatively one of the weaker sides in the league and are yet to win a game. East Bengal will aim for a convincing victory at their club ground in the upcoming fixture.
Mehtab Hossain’s managerial debut with Southern Samity has not been memorable till now as his team are yet to register their first win in the Calcutta Football League. After playing out three draws against BSS Sporting Club, Peerless and Mohammedan Sporting Club, Southern Samity lost 2-0 against Bhawanipore FC in their last match.
But a few things could favour the minnows in Thursday’s fixture. First of all, coach Mehtab Hossain played several years at East Bengal and knows all about the club. The presence of a strong foreign contingent, including Mahmoud Al Amnah and Kalu Ogba will make the task difficult for the Red and Gold brigade.
Jaime Santos Colado
East Bengal coach Alejandro Menendez shocked everyone by not starting with the attacking midfielder in the ‘Kolkata Derby.’ Due to his absence, the supply line was largely inactive. His introduction in the 71st minute gave him little time to showcase his skills. It is expected that Colado will be fielded on Thursday’s game against Southern Samity from the start. East Bengal need to win the match to stay on course for a record 40th Calcutta Football League title.
Mahmoud Al Amnah
After the historic I-League triumph with Aizawl FC, the Syrian was roped in by East Bengal in at the start of the 2017-18 season. The creative midfielder has played a lot of matches at the East Bengal ground and will be in an advantageous position when he visits his former club. Having the likes of veteran Kalu Ogba beside him, the duo have the potential to give a tough fight to their opponents in the afternoon kick-off.
East Bengal vs Southern Samity
Date: 5th September 2019
Kick-off: 3:00 PM IST
Live Stream: Sadhna News, Sadhna News YouTube channel
Venue: East Bengal Ground, Kolkata
Going by the recent form, East Bengal is likely to win the match.
East Bengal 2-0 Southern Samity