SC East Bengal continued their unbeaten run in the 2020-21 season of Indian Super League (ISL) as they beat former champions Bengaluru FC 1-0 at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao. Matti Steinmann scored the goal for Red and Golds in the 20th minute after flicking the ball in with the outside of his boot.
SC East Bengal got off to a poor start in the 2020-21 ISL campaign. The Red and Golds had to wait till their fourth match against Jamshedpur FC to pick up their first point. However, they failed to capitalise and lost 3-2 to Hyderabad FC in the next game. But, since then, SC East Bengal have been on an unbeaten streak.
Addressing the media after the match, assistant coach Tony Grant said:
"We had only two weeks pre-season and we had a whole bunch of players whom no one knew. So, it was common sense that it was going to take time. If anyone thought, it's going to be all done in a week or two, they would be crazy. The players finally understand the type of play we want and, we have brought a couple of new players in. Ankit (Mukherjee) and Raju (Gaikwad) have done really well. The young boys, Harman(preet Singh) and (Haobam) Tomba (Singh), have also done very well. It's a work in progress."
Since their arrival in 2017, Bengaluru FC have made it to the playoffs in every season of ISL. Their captain Sunil Chhetri looked menacing against SC East Bengal, but goalkeeper Debjit Majumder came up with some vital saves to preserve the clean sheet.
"Bengaluru FC is a good team. They are one of the biggest teams in the league. We are the new club in the ISL. It's very early days. But, we have shown everyone that we are fighters. Our boys showed we can play with the ball in the first half and we can defend too. We know that East Bengal like fighters. We have got a manager who is a fighter. We have coaches who are fighters. It is a good recipe for the future. The boys have shown how resilient they are and how much we can fight. We are scared of no one and will fight with everyone," Grant further added.
"The jump is like taking a Conference team in the UK to the Premier League" - SC East Bengal assistant coach Tony Grant
When asked whether this win over Bengaluru FC can galvanize them to greater heights, Grant replied that SC East Bengal is still a work in progress team.
"East Bengal has never been in the ISL before. This jump is huge. It's like taking a Conference team in the UK and taking them to the Premier League. So, you have to get there by levels. And, it takes time. So, we are not galvanized, we are work in progress," the Englishman concluded.
SC East Bengal have a six-day gap ahead of them before they clash with Kerala Blasters at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco. The Red and Golds need to make the most of this break as the games will come thick and fast later on.