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I-League 2018-19: “We are not keeping the 7-1 loss in our mind”, says Chennai City FC coach Nawas ahead of East Bengal clash

Avik Roy
12 Nov 2018, 15:53 IST

Chennai City FC has made a brilliant start to the I-League
Chennai City FC has made a brilliant start to the I-League

I-League leaders Chennai City Football Club will face their first real test of this season when they will clash against mighty East Bengal at Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday. The table toppers are flying high after two wins and one draw in their last three games.

After their famous away win against Southern rivals Gokulam Kerala FC, Chennai is aiming full points from their second away game too.

“I said before the start of the season that we’ll look for three points in every match, doesn’t matter whether it’s in home or away. Yes, we may drew or lose and as professionals we have to reflect on ourselves as to why we lose or drew the match. But before that, we must target all the three points,” coach Akbar Nawas said at the pre-match press conference.

Chennai played in the last two I-League season and both the time they finished on the eighth position. But this year, with a different team and new coach, Chennai are already having an unbeaten run. But Nawas seemed to be cautious in his approach,

“I think we should get over the moon now. In football, situations can change very soon. After two or three losses, our back will be against the wall. We have a new team with new players and new history. Definitely there will be some pressure. To prevent that, I am asking my players to look at one game at a time. So, now our focus will be on East Bengal.”

Chennai City FC will definitely feel the pressure of scoring goals as Pedro Manzi is injured and may not start against East Bengal. Manzi has already scored four goals along with a hat-trick against Indian Arrows.

The Spaniard will undergo a fitness test tomorrow morning and after that final decision will be taken whether to include him in the playing XI or not.

“Yes, Manzi is suffering from a lower hamstring injury and if doesn’t start, Ameeruddin will get the nod,” said Nawas.

Talking about their opponent, the Chennai gaffer said,

“East Bengal have a rich history like Mohun Bagan. Every team with this kind of history will come hard against their opponents. They will try to win it for their opponents. They have already won two away games and I’m sure they will try to keep the momentum. I have seen both their games. Maybe they’ll opt for a defensive strategy but I definitely have a plan for them.”

The last meeting between the two teams at this ground nine months ago resulted in a disaster for Chennai City. East Bengal have won the match by a 7-1 margin with Dudu Omagbemi scoring four goals.

Asked whether they will keep the result mind, Nawas said,

“Last season we had a different team. Now we have a different set of players. So, I don’t think history will repeat itself. Tomorrow it’ll be a totally different game. We are not keeping in mind the 7-1 loss and will start freshly.”

Both of East Bengal’s strikers – Enrique Esqueda and Jobby Justin are in fine form after scoring two goals each in the last two matches. Nawas said there will be a special plan not only for the strikers but for the whole team.

“I have taken a note about them. If we only mark Esqueda or Justin then some other player will score the goal. So we will keep an eye on all players and will try to produce a team game,” Nawas signed off.
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