East Bengal look to extend unbeaten streak
KOLKATA: East Bengal, the only unbeaten side in the on-going I-League, would seek to extend their pole position when they take on Goa giant Salgaocar in the eighth round I-League match at Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday.
With his team having won four of the last five outings in the tournament East Bengal’s English coach Trevor James Morgan echoed the confidence the behooves a side in good form and hoped to pick up another win at home.
Having established his credentials as an astute coach Morgan will have a test of his tactical acumen when he takes on another seasoned coach from his own country – David Booth – who is managing the opponent. The clash in all respect promises to be an absorbing one when two very accomplished professors of the sport match their wits for two contrasting reasons – one (Morgan) will aim for stability on top while the other (Booth) will look for resurrection following a series of bad results.
“It is nice to have some from UK on the other side. We share mutual respect for each other,” said Morgan, adding that he knows Booth as a coach since his playing days in the English league. “The team (Salgaocar) is going through a phase of transition and such sides can produce a good result any time,” Morgan said with a note of caution about his opponent.
“Staying on top (of the standings) is a tough ask and my players know exactly how to perform in such situation. It will be crucial match for both the sides,” Morgan said. “The team will more or less be the same except for some changes in the squad of 18,” he added. The coach said there are some niggling injuries to some of the main team players, including the Nigerian striker Edeh Cidi, but none of have been ruled out of selection.
“East Bengal definitely is one of the contenders for the title but they are not unstoppable. My team is adjusting to my philosophy and hence struggling a bit. We hope we will be able to put up a good showing against East Bengal,” Booth said about Salgaocar’s chances.
Salgaocar will be playing their seventh away match in eight rounds and third successive match in Kolkata. “We have been away for home for a long time and would like to return with a positive result before beginning the home round in December,” Booth said looking ahead to team’s next five rounds at home (beginning with the ninth round match against Dempo SC).
“I have seen East Bengal play against ONGC in the previous match. East Bengal team is a balanced side but every side have some weakness and we will try to exploit that,” Booth said about his intended approach.
“It has not been very long that I have taken over Salgaocar. The team is in a rebuilding process and have done well against Prayag United in the previous round. We hope to keep up the momentum,” Booth added.