I-League: East Bengal look to clinch top against Mumbai FC

East Bengal and Mumbai FC players and coaches at the pre-match press conference.
Modified 04 Apr 2016

A buoyant East Bengal will aim to go top of the table when they take on Mumbai FC in an I-League encounter at the Barasat Stadium here on Tuesday.

East Bengal have answered the critics in style as they defeated arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in the second leg of the Kolkata derby in Siliguri on Saturday to re-ignite their title challenge.

East Bengal coach Biswajit Bhattacharya did not accept that he is under any pressure even as his wards battle to claim their first national title since the 2003-04 season, when it was known as the National Football League.

"Obviously, there is pressure but we have to take one match at a time and we have to win all our remaining matches and that is how we can go about this," he said.

South Korean midfielder Do Dong-Hyun, who was the hero of the derby, having scored a brace, can be rewarded with a place in the starting XI along with Ranti Martins who is looking determined to finish as the top scorer in the second season on a trot.

Speaking about Mumbai FC, Biswajit stated, "Mumbai FC is a very good team. You can't go by their standing in the Hero I-League. Every team loses to some other team and so the standings does not reflect directly on the performance."

Arnab Mondal, who was show caused for his alleged racist remark in the derby encounter, is all set to link up with Bello Rasaq at the centre of defence.

Mumbai FC coach Khalid Jamil, meanwhile, need a turnaround soon as they languish at the bottom of the table but his boys were really unlucky in losing out to Bengaluru FC by a solitary goal the other night.

"Yes we are last in the league right now but we drew against Kingfisher East Bengal at home, but this is an away match so we have to fight hard", Jamil said.

Jamil had his full contingent available to him save Eric Brown who was absent. Taisuke Matsugae will have to work hard in the midfield to come out with a positive result from the encounter.

The former India defender did not say that they would have any special plans for the dangerous duo, Ranti Martins, and Do Dong-Hyun.

"All of them are very good players and we have to defend as a unit. I don't have any special marking plans for any individual," Jamil admitted.

In the closely-contested I-League, a win for Mumbai can take them to as high as fourth in the nine-team table while the hosts have a chance to ascend to the very top. Both teams will look to eke out a win nonetheless with very different motivations whatsoever.

Published 04 Apr 2016
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