Defending champions Chennai City FC and Kolkata giants East Bengal will lock horns in a crucial I-League game in Coimbatore today (Saturday) with both teams desperately needing a win to stay alive in the competition.
With the 13th I-League season approaching its half-way mark, Chennai City are in the eighth place, having picked up eight points six games. East Bengal too have same number of points from seven matches but sit a place above in seventh spot by virtue of a superior goal difference.
Chennai City will be charted up after their hard-fought 3-2 win over Gokulam Kerala FC in the Southern Derby.
Chennai City midfielder Katsumi Yusa, who donned the famous Red and Gold once, said: “I am feeling very happy to play against East Bengal. I have played with them previously and their supporters were very good to me.
“They are a fresh team now, with new talents and good footballing philosophy, so they will be a good team to face and I am looking forward to the game.”
The mood in the Red and Golds camp will be totally different after having endured three defeats in a row, but none as deflating as their loss to arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in the Kolkata derby on January 19.
Since the turn of the new year, East Bengal have had their work cut out and now find themselves in a position where they cannot afford another loss. East Bengal have also announced the departure of head coach Alejandro Menendez earlier this week, which doesn’t make their situation any better.
Taking over the reins will be Spaniard Mario Rivera Campesino, who was Alejandro’s assistant at East Bengal last season.
However, they will be aided by the signing of Liberian forward, Ansumana Kromah, who has re-joined the club.
But the visitors would be hit hard by the unavailability of defender Marti Crespi, after the veteran Spaniard picked up his fourth yellow card of the season against Mohun Bagan.
Commenting on Saturday’s game, East Bengal midfielderccccccccccccccc Juan Mera said: “I think the team has played some very good games so far. We have had bad luck with goals going forward.
“We must continue working to improve day-by-day.”
The match scheduled to start at dx:00 pm will be broadcast LIVE on DSPORT. Fans can tune in to DSPORT on TataSky- 496 ; Dish TV – 630 ; Videocon D2H – 410 ; Fastway – 314 ; GTPL SD/HD – 312/150 ; Siti Digital – 483 ; Digi Cable – 406 and Hathway – 183.