East Bengal aiming to break Sporting Clube jinx
Bengaluru FC’s 1-1 draw with Pune FC on Friday and Salgaocar’s 2-1 home defeat against Rangdajied United on Saturday has opened the door for East Bengal to beat Sporting Clube at home on Sunday and make up significant ground in the I-League title race.
East Bengal though haven’t beaten Sporting Clube in any competition for nearly two years now and were beaten 2-1 in the Federation Cup clash earlier this year.
The red-and-gold brigade haven’t won back-to-back I-League games all season but possibly need to win each of their remaining six games to win the title. However coach Armando Colaco is only taking one game at a time.
“We are still in the race and it’s tough for everybody. For now we are only focusing on winning this game. The inconsistent performances of the boys have been due to their inadequate fitness levels but hopefully that will change from this game,” Colaco stated.
East Bengal currently trail Bengaluru by ten points with three games in hand and they are also one behind Sporting Clube, who have played an extra game. So mathematically the Flaming Oranje are also in contention for the title but they are on a five-game winless streak.
“I have been disappointed with our recent performances. The team’s rhythm has been somewhat upset due to continuous games after the winter break but we will try to get back to winning ways tomorrow,” Sporting Clube’s Spanish coach Oscar Bruzon said at the pre-match press conference on Saturday.
The other subplot of this encounter is that former Sporting Clube striker and current East Bengal man Edeh Chidi is one goal away from reaching the milestone of 100 in the combined history of the National Football League (NFL) and I-League.