The 2013-14 season has moved from bad to worse for Dempo SC, who still wait the first three points of the campaign. The journey could get much harder as they travel to Kolkata to face Kingfisher East Bengal on Thursday, October 17 at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium in Bengal.
If the return of head coach Arthur Papas, who was away from the team due to some personal reasons, could be a ray of hope for the team, his job could become even tougher if the team fails to deliver a result against the red and gold brigade in their own back yard.
Though the five time national champions looked off colour in the initial three games of the league, in the previous encounter against Salgaocar FC, the local derby, the men from Mapusa showed immense character to snatch a late goal to level terms before the clock could hit the 90 minute mark.
With no injury concerns to the team, Papas is expected to field a strong team against East Bengal. Jeje Lalpekhlua, the saviour against Salgaocar FC, could once again be seen partnering Billy Mehmet up front, with Joy Ferrao being restricted to the bench. It would be interesting to see if Papas would give the 21-year-old academy boy Myron Fernandes a chance to perform on the big stage or not.
The midfield could see captain Clifford Miranda taking the left flank, while Peter Caravalho monitoring the movements on the right side of the field. Jewel Raja, one the new entrants into the Dempo set-up, could play a more defensive role with Beto being the link between the midfield and the goal scorers up front.
Simon Colosimo will be expected to marshal his troops in the back along with the likes of Shinnosuke Honda, Samir Naik and Mahesh Gawli.
This match could also see a battle between team who have had contrasting run in the season so far. If one side will be the struggling Dempo SC, then on the other side will be East Bengal, a team high on confidence following their emphatic 4-0 away win over Shillong Lajong FC in the previous encounter.
The Bengal giants will look for full points against their old foe, which would help in setting a good platform for the long season ahead. Moreover, a comprehensive performance will allow the Kolkata side to be in the right frame of mind just before their much awaited and highly anticipated game in the AFC Cup.
Though much cannot be said about the game, all we can guarantee you that will be a neck-to-neck battle between two former champions, who will look to regain their authority on the league and it’s coveted number one position.Published 16 Oct 2013, 09:37 IST