Kolkata giant SC East Bengal will begin its first-ever Indian Super League (ISL) campaign against arch-rival ATK Mohun Bagan on November 27, Friday.
Ahead of the 2020-21 season, I-League club East Bengal FC was bought by Shree Cement Limited. The new franchise then submitted bid documents and was eventually selected as the 11th ISL team by FSDL.
SC East Bengal, which finished second in the 2019-20 I-League, will be coached by Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler. This edition will be played behind closed doors in Goa at three venues — GMC Stadium Bambolim, Tilak Maidan Stadium and Fatorda Stadium.
ISL 2020-21: SC East Bengal Full Fixture
|Match No.||Home Team||Away Team||Date||Venue||Timing|
|8||SC East Bengal||ATK Mohun Bagan||November 27, Friday||Tilak Maidan Stadium||7:30 PM|
|13||Mumbai City FC||SC East Bengal||December 1, Tuesday||GMC Stadium Bambolim||7:30 PM|
|17||NorthEast United FC||SC East Bengal||December 5, Saturday||Tilak Maidan Stadium||7:30 PM|
|23||SC East Bengal||Jamshedpur FC||December 10, Thursday||Tilak Maidan Stadium||7:30 PM|
|29||Hyderabad FC||SC East Bengal||December 15, Tuesday||Tilak Maidan Stadium||7:30 PM|
|35||Kerala Blasters FC||SC East Bengal||December 20, Sunday||GMC Stadium Bambolim||7:30 PM|
|39||SC East Bengal||Chennaiyin FC||December 26, Saturday||Tilak Maidan Stadium||7:30 PM|
|45||SC East Bengal||Odisha FC||January 3, Sunday||Tilak Maidan Stadium||5 PM|
|49||SC East Bengal||FC Goa||January 6, Wednesday||Tilak Maidan Stadium||7:30 PM|
|52||Bengaluru FC||SC East Bengal||January 9, Saturday||Fatorda Stadium||7:30 PM|
ISL 2020-21: SC East Bengal Predicted XI
Goalkeeper: Mirshad Michu
The 26-year-old shot-stopper from Kerala is expected to keep the goal for the Red and Golds. Although the squad has experienced keeper Debjit Majumdar as well as youngsters like Rafique Ali Sardar and Sankar Roy, Mirshad’s acrobatics and height give him the edge.
Defense: Lalramchullova, Daniel Fox, Scott Neville, Samad Ali Mallick
The defense is expected to be spearheaded by central defender Daniel Fox. His leadership skills and experience at the top level of English football will allow East Bengal to maintain composure and balance at the back.
Fox will be helped out by Australian centre-back Scott Neville who has a knack of shifting right and going up the pitch. Lalramchullova and Samad Ali Mallick are expected to take charge of the wings. The full-backs are excellent crossers of the ball and will have a crucial role to play in building up East Bengal’s moves up the pitch.
Midfield: Matti Steinmann, Mohammed Rafique, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Anthony Pilkington, Jacques Maghoma
Matti Steinmann and Mohammed Rafique will sit behind the midfield and act as a bridge between the defense and the midfield. Steinmann will act as a play-making defensive midfielder while Rafique will act as a play-blocker defensive midfielder.
East Bengal’s central midfield will be marshalled by Eugeneson Lyngdoh. Jacques Maghoma is set to play on the left side of the pitch while Anthony Pilkington is expected to take the right flank in the offensive half. Pilkington’s exploits as a second striker can also be useful and he may sit behind the centre-forward and act as a false #9.
Forwards: Jeje Lalpekhlua
The Mizo Sniper, who is also on a comeback trail to the Indian football team, will have a point to prove in the 2020-21 season. Jeje Lalpekhlua played his last professional game in mid-2019. Since then, a knee injury has sidelined him for more than a season.
Lalpekhlua’s lack of fitness may, however, prove detrimental. But with Anthony Pilkington and Jacques Maghoma on his flanks, it is expected that Lalpekhlua will score a handful.
ISL 2020-21: SC East Bengal Full squad
SC East Bengal
Goalkeepers: Debjit Majumder, Rafique Ali, Mirshad Michu, Sankar Roy
Defenders: Daniel Fox, Scott Neville, Gurtej Singh, Narayan Das, Lalramchullova, Abhishek Ambekar, Rana Gharami, Samad Mallick, Mohamed Irshad, Ningthoukhongjam Rohen Singh, Anil Chawan, Novin Gurung, Pritam Singh
Midfielders: Aaron Hammadi-Holloway, Anthony Pilkington, Matti Steinman, Jacques Maghoma, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Bikash Jairu, Sehnaj Singh, Surchandra Singh, Loken Metei, Haobam Singh, Milan Singh, Wahengbam Luwang, Mohamed Rafique, Yumnam Singh
Forwards: Jeje Lalpekhlua, Balwant Singh, CK Vineeth, Girik Khosla, Harmanpreet Singh