Chennai will take on East Bengal to add one more win in Indian Football League after a 2-1 triumph over Goa last week. East Bengal would eye the first win in its debut season.
Match Timings: Dec 26, 7:30 PM IST
East Bengal and Chennai will fight out in the post-Christmas clash of the Indian Football League. Both sides had a poor campaign this season, especially the East Bengal. The Red and Gold outfit came close to the victory, but they conceded a stoppage-time goal to settle for one point against Kerala Blasters. Bakary Kone's own goal provided East Bengal the early lead.
Robbie Fowler's side was impressive in the first half. The attacking trio Anthony Pilkington, Jacques Maghoma, and Mohammad Rafique managed the game for the Red and Golds. East Bengal had various chances to score, but they couldn’t. In the second half, the Kerala goalkeeper made few saves to offer another dose of disappointment to Robbie Fowler. In final stoppage time, Jeakson Singh scored an equaliser through Sahal Abdul Samad’s cross. East Bengal lost another chance to get three points.
Despite earning just one point from the previous game, East Bengal looked far better from other matches, and it will help them out to perform better. Robbie Fowler didn’t change the genuine positions of the key players, and it helped them to put a strong approach. It was Albino Gomes who made excellent saves to spoil all good efforts. The defense was also good as Danny Fox, and Bikash Jairu made the defense stronger for them, and Kerala didn’t find an equaliser in the full-time. Goalkeeper Debjit Majumder also managed to hold Kerala for a longer time. He made a fabulous save in the 71st minute.
Meanwhile, Chennai tasted a much-needed victory in the previous game and made a 5-point difference to the bottom three. Chennai started the game with the early goal in the 5thminute through Rafael Crivellaro’s corner kick. Goa replied back in four minutes through Romario Jesuraj’s strike with the help of Jorge Ortiz. The first half ended on 1-1, and Chennai dominated over Goa’s defense. Jakub Sylvestr and Lallianzuala Chhangte missed out the opportunities for Chennai to take the lead. In the 53rdminute, Crivellaro provided a superb cross to set up Rahim Ali for a simple tap-in goal, and Chennai got the winner. Csaba Laszlo’s side didn’t give enough chances to Goa and sealed three points.
No doubt, it was Chennai’s day in Fatorda, but they could have bettered the scoreline. Before facing strong Mariners next week, Csaba Laszlo would try to take three more points for the points-table game. After the first match, Chennai missed out its key players like Enes Sipovic, Rafael Crivellaro, and Anirudh Thapa due to injuries, and it hurt Laszlo to maintain the run. Crivellaro and Thapa came back last week, and Chennai looked like a better unit. It’s a huge advantage, and Csaba Laszlo’s side now can trouble other teams with the full team.
Possible Lineups & Current Form
Lineup: Debjit Majumder, Mohammad Rafique, Scott Neville, Danny Fox, Senhaj Singh, Bikash Jairu, Matti Steinmann, Anthony Pilkington, Surchandra Singh, Haobam Tomba Singh, Jacques Maghoma
Current form: D L D L L
Previous match:1-1 draw with Kerala
Lineup: Vishal Kaith; Deepak Tangri, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Eli Sabia, Reagan Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rafael Crivellaro, Anirudh Thapa, Fatkhulo Fatkhulloev, Memo Moura, Jakub Sylvestr
Current form: W D L L D
Previous match:2-1 victory over Goa
2 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21
11 saves in Indian Football League 2020-21
1 goal & 1 assist in Indian Football League 2020-21
1 goal & 13 tackles in Indian Football League 2020-21