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I-League: East Bengal needs three points against Prayag United

Tomorrow afternoon when Prayag United SC host East Bengal Club in a Round 22 match of the I-League at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium it comes just nine days after the Men in Purple won 1-0 against the red-and-gold in the final of the 117th IFA Shield. ...

FILE PHOTO: East Bengal FC

Tomorrow afternoon when Prayag United SC host East Bengal Club in a Round 22 match of the I-League at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium, it comes just nine days after the Men in Purple won 1-0 against the Red-and-Gold in the final of the 117th IFA Shield.

But that was the IFA Shield, now it is back to the I-League where East Bengal Club are three points behind league leaders Churchill Brothers but have played the same number of matches. A win tomorrow will be vital to keep the pressure on the Goans ahead of the final rounds of the I-League.

“The two matches are different for they were played in different tournaments so the two cannot be compared. But tomorrow’s match is crucial as it is important for us to win and remain in the run for the title,” East Bengal coach Trevor James Morgan said.

Meanwhile, Prayag United coach Eelco Schattorie said, “Just because we beat them in the (IFA) Shield final does not mean we have all the advantage. We played better on that day and won. We have to repeat the good showing once again to repeat the success.”

And Prayag United have been a tough opponent for the red-and-gold, who in recent I-League matches have found their form and have moved into fourth position just ahead of Pune FC on goal difference and behind champions Dempo SC.

“Prayag United are a strong side with good players like Carlos Hernandez and Ranty Martins. We have plans in place for our opponents and hope they will come good this time,” Morgan added.

The game will also be a match-up between two of the best I-League strikers with Prayag’s Ranti Martins Soleye taking on East Bengal’s Chidi Edeh.

“They have good players and we do not have specific plan to mark anyone in particular. We will play to our plan and try to make the most of it,” Eelco added.

East Bengal will miss the services of all-rounder Harmanjot Singh Khabra due to a yellow card suspension.

A good Kolkata derby is on the cards with a lot at stake.

Published with permission from Arunava Chaudhuri.

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