Preview: AFC Cup - East Bengal vs Johor Darul Ta'zim
East Bengal welcome Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim in a crucial AFC Cup Group F encounter. This group is still wide open as East Bengal still hold a chance to go ahead to the round of 16. Even though Eelco Schattorie has prioritized I-League over the AFC Cup, the Kolkata giants will still want to win this game and move up in the group table.
The visitors, on the other hand, will be aiming to register a convincing victory over a depleted opponent and confirm their position as the table toppers. It is going to be an exciting clash between the strong Johor Darul side and an energetic and young East Bengal side.
Yuba Bharati Krirangan or the Salt Lake stadium, as it is commonly called, is a multi-purpose stadium located in the city of Kolkata. It is the biggest stadium in India and second biggest in the whole of Asia, boasting of a capacity of 1,20,000. The capacity has been reduced to 68,000 after the installation of bucket seats.
April 28, 2015: 6:00 pm (IST)
Possible starting line-ups
East Bengal (4-4-2): Luis Barreto; Abhishek Das, Gurwinder Singh, Raju Gaikwad, Robert Lalthlamuana; Mama, Sukhwinder Singh, Subodh Kumar, Md. Rafique; Baljit Singh, Baldeep Singh Jr.
Eelco Schattorie is likely to field a second string team in this AFC Cup clash against Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim. The coach believes that his team is a strong contender in the I-League, thus he would not risk his first team players in the AFC game.
None of the foreigners will feature in today’s clash and the side which thumped Balestier Khalsa a few weeks back is likely to feature in this match.
Johor Darul Ta’zim (4-3-1-2): Farizal; Fadhli, Eldstal, Marcos Antonio, Daudsu; Mahali, Shakir, Hariss; Safiq; Yahyah, Diaz
Jorge Pereyra Diaz vs Gurwinder Singh
Jorge Pereyra Diaz is the most dangerous striker at Johor Darul Ta’zim. The Argentine loves to score goals and will be assigned the job of creating havoc for an inexperienced East Bengal defense. In the absence of the main center-backs, Gurwinder Singh will be given the responsibility to keep Diaz under check and mark him well.
Baljit Singh Sahni vs Marcos Antonio
Baljit Singh Sahni will be the key man upfront for East Bengal in this game in the absence of Ranti Martins and Dudu Omagbemi. The highly experienced Indian striker will rely on his tireless running to pose a threat to the opponent. Marcos Antonio of Johor will be responsible to keep Baljit under check.
East Bengal 0-2 Johor Darul Ta’zim FC
We predict a 2-0 win in favour of the away side as they are a much stronger team on paper and are also on top of the table in Group F. Also, the Indian giants will field a second tier team in this game so their strength reduces automatically.