Salgaocar FC wary of East Bengal threat ahead of I-League clash
Margao: Coach Derrick Pereira made no bones about admitting that East Bengal were a dangerous side and billed them as title contenders, as his side take on the Red and Gold brigade in a Round 5 clash at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda tomorrow.
The Greens found the back of the net once either side of half time against Sporting Clube de Goa to register their first victory of the campaign, having managed 2 draws from the previous 3 outings. East Bengal, on the other hand, have made a strong start to the league with two wins and a draw.
Assistance coach of the Kolkata side, Sujit Chakravarty who attended the pre-match conference in place of Armando Colaco, who has been on the sidelines on medical grounds, stated “We have been together only since the beginning of the Federation Cup, but we have made a good start after we drew our first match here in Goa”.
East Bengal will, however, be without key players Mehtab Hossain and Arnab Mondal for the clash this weekend, although vice-captain Gurwinder Singh is likely to be available for selection after a lengthy lay-off. They will be buoyed by the return to form of Ranti Martins who scored a brace in the last outing.
Harmanjot Khabra, the captain of East Bengal, acknowledged Salgaocar’s strong performances in domestic tournaments this season and said he was looking forward to a very competitive clash.
“East Bengal have a very strong side despite the injuries and by far the best strike force in the country. We will have to be at our absolute best, especially in defence and give it over a 100% to come out with a result”, remarked Derrick.
Scottish striker Darryl Duffy who was brought in late on in the previous tie against Sporting Clube de Goa has not recovered entirely but will play for sure, confirmed the gaffer, whilst admitting that his presence would be a big boost to the morale of the other players in the dressing room.
Medio Saran Singh, however, is yet to recover from an abdominal strain and will not feature. “We have improved with every passing game I’m happy to have got some points on the board given the number of players we have missed through injury”, he concluded.
“We managed to get the goals in our last match against Sporting, something we failed to do in our previous matches. We will give our best to try and win all 3 points tomorrow”, stated skipper of the Greens, Rocus Lamare.