With Chennaiyin FC’s confidence at an all-time high and SC East Bengal still trying to find their identity, it will be interesting to see how both the teams come out to play when they take on each other on Friday, December 3. The Marina Machans, led by head coach Bozidar Bandovic, will be hoping to continue their momentum against a disheveled Red and Gold.
Head coach Manolo Diaz’s post-match comments following SC East Bengal’s defeat to ATK Mohun Bagan in the Kolkata Derby have raised many questions. “At the moment we don’t have enough quality to play matches in the Indian Super League (ISL),” he said. It is now up to the SCEB squad to change this perception. Chennaiyin FC will eye a third straight win when they take on a winless East Bengal in an Indian Super League match in Vasco da Gama, Goa on Friday.
While two-time champion Chennaiyin appears to be gaining in confidence, the East Bengal side has only one point to show from the three matches they played so far. Also, the Kolkata side has conceded 10 goals and the defense has looked shaky, which is something Anirudh Thapa and Co would take note of.
CFC defeated NEUFC in their previous game on Monday with skipper Thapa putting himself on the scorer’s list. While the captain would like to add to his tally he would also expect more players to find the net in the coming games. Chennaiyin coach Bozidar Bandovic, however, made it clear they cannot afford to take any team lightly.
“First, of all, we go game by game. Opponents, they will be focussed 100 percent, we need to be ready and we are ready for this,” Bandovic said during a virtual media interaction.”We have a chance to make it three wins in a row. We need to show respect to every opponent. Doesn’t matter if the opponent has conceded 10 goals (so far)… we need to prepare and be ready for this game and with full concentration.”
CFC is missing the services of influential midfielder Rafael Crivallero, owing to an injury but Vladimir Koman has proved to be a more than apt replacement and will look to make a mark after having indicated his intent to score in every game.
East Bengal, on the other hand, had drawn against Jamshedpur before losing to ATK Mohun Bagan and Odisha FC and they will rue their chances. Coach Manolo Diaz had been critical of the team after the 4-6 loss to Odisha FC on Tuesday and he will be hoping that the team puts up a better performance against a side high on confidence.
The Kolkata giants will need their defense to tighten up and make sure they don’t allow the opponents easy goals. But it is easier said than done and a team-low on confidence would require them to be at their best to keep CFC at bay.
Bandovic and his team came into this game on the back of a decent win against NorthEast United. Goals from Lallianzuala Chhangte and Anirudh Thapa ensured that they remained in the top four.
With a win against Diaz’s men, they will momentarily climb up to the top of the points table. All three points will be important for Chennai if they want to continue their charge for the title.
SC EAST BENGAL
It hasn’t been the most ideal start for Manolo Diaz in his debut in the Indian Super League. His team has managed to get only a single point out of a possible nine, which is a sign of worry.
Winning their fixture against a buoyant Chennai will be a statement of intent on their behalf. They need to kick-start their season and can do so on Friday.
Inside the Chennai camp, Rafael Crivellaro remains ruled out. The news of his muscle injury came before their clash against NEUFC, after which he was ruled out for four weeks. There are no other injury issues.
For Diaz, Balwant Singh remains on the sidelines. Their skipper Arindam Bhattacharya missed the match against Odisha FC and might be out this time as well. Apart from them, Jackichand Singh and Sourav Das are also injured – looks like SC East Bengal will miss many important players for this game.
Chennaiyin FC and SC East Bengal played each other twice last season. Both games ended in draws, the score lines reading 2-2 and 0-0 on the respective occasions.
CHENNAIYIN FC (4-1-4-1):
- Vishal (GK)
- Salam Ranjan
SC EAST BENGAL (4-4-2):
- Sen (GK)
- Hira Mondal
- Franjo Prce
- Raju Gaikwad
- Mohammed Rafique
- Darren Sidoel
- Bikash Jairu
- Naorem Singh
- Antonio Perosevic
- Daniel Chima.
MAN TO WATCH
ANIRUDH THAPA (CHENNAIYIN FC)
The 23-year-old midfielder led his side to victory against NEUFC. The skipper’s darting run with the ball was ended with a thumping strike. His goal clinched all three points for his team and this time he’ll be hoping to have a similar impact.
Even when he’s not on the ball, he is a strong voice in midfield. Thapa tries to help his team defensively as well, but he is most threatening going forward. You might just watch him boss the midfield against SCEB.
DANIEL CHIMA (SC EAST BENGAL)
After the opening match, Chima was relegated to the bench. But, after his excellent performance off the bench against Odisha, he should get the nod to start. In his short 30 minutes on the pitch, he scored two goals, almost bringing his team back into the game. He has shown that if given a chance, he can score goals.
His hold-up play and display of strength against defenders is second to none. He’ll be looking forward to pouncing on any mistake, or any stray ball given away by Chennaiyin.
DID YOU KNOW?
Neither team has won against the other so far. Both sides will be looking to change that.
Chennaiyin has conceded only one goal in their first two matches. SC East Bengal has already conceded four in their first two outings and six more in their third game!Lallianzuala Chhangte scored in their 2-2 draw against SCEB last season.
MATCH PREDICTION: CFC 2-0 SCAB
It will be a major upset and at the same time a joyous occasion for SCEB if they register their first win against an unbeaten CFC team but it is a rarity at the moment. Bandanovic’s side is expected to storm towards another three points leaving their opposition in a dire state for a change.