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I-League 2017: East Bengal FC look to remain top against unpredictable Neroca FC

Suvadeep Basu
CONTRIBUTOR
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228   //    30 Dec 2017, 13:30 IST

East Bengal FC players celebrates their win against Gokulam Kerala FC
East Bengal FC players celebrate their win against Gokulam Kerala FC.

East Bengal are all set to take on Neroca FC at the KhumanLampak Stadium in Imphal on Saturday, as they look to secure a fifth straight win on the trot. Currently sitting pretty at the top of the table, East Bengal will be looking to put some distance between them and the second-placed Minerva Punjab, with a win in Imphal.

Meanwhile, Neroca will also be looking to climb to the top of the table, and the only thing that can help them achieve that as of now, is a win over the Red and Golds, by a margin of two goals or more.

East Bengal Team Info: With pivotal Katsumi Yusa almost certain to be out of the equation against Neroca FC the East Bengal FC gaffer might reshuffle things a bit in the centre of the park. Cavin Lobo might return after warming the bench in the previous two matches will tag up with 'Syrian Wizard' Mahmoud Al-Amna in the midfield. Charles D'Souza who looked out of sorts against Gokulam FC might be replaced by Brandon Dsouza as he is perfectly adept at playing in high altitudes and environment. Lal Ram Chullova might replace Prakash Sarkar in the right back position as he was often caught off-guard by Bayi Kamo in the last match.

Neroca's Dream Run: The new entrants from Manipur have been a surprise package in this year's I-League. After losing their opening fixture against Minerva, the team has gained momentum and remains undefeated to date.

They triumphed their last match the North Eastern Derby beating Shillong Lajong by a solitary goal earning the bragging rights. Felix Chidi, Singham Subhas Singha and playmaker Israilov Akhlidin can be a thorn in the side of the Red & Gold's who had consistently leaked goals at the back.

Playing at home, Neroca FC will always be a tough nut to crack. Currently, they are 3rd in the I-League table with 10 points from 5 matches and a win against East Bengal FC with a margin of three or more goals can throttle them into the new league leaders of I-League 2017-2018.

Author's Take: It is all expected to be a mouth-watering clash as Neroca FC, at home, will try to grab the bragging rights. They have already managed to surprise and garner points against a Kolkata giant in form of Mohun Bagan. East Bengal, on the other hand, might at least try to gather a point from this sturdy fixture.

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Suvadeep Basu
CONTRIBUTOR
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