Losing to ATK Mohun Bagan in their debut ISL game, Robbie Fowler’s East Bengal eye their first win of Hero Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21) in their battle versus a strong Mumbai City FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim tonight.
The Robbie Fowler-coached team did put up a decent fight in last Friday’s Derby although the result didn’t go their way. Fowler would be looking to beef up East Bengal’s attack with lack of finishing prowess proving to be costly for them against Mohun Bagan.
ISL 2020-21: Robbie Fowler will look to beef up East Bengal attack against Mumbai
Jeje Lalpekhlua may get a chance to start upfront after an unimpressive showing by Balwant Singh in the previous game.
“The plan is to go out and score in every game. We are a team that can create chances and we have to convert those chances into goals once we begin building patterns in the way we play,” Fowler said in the pre match conference.
The likes of Anthony Pilkington and Matti Steinmann tried to make some sort of an impact, but the performance of East Bengal’s Indian contingent was disappointing.
While, Antonio Habas’ side usually allow opposition to enjoy possession but are deadly on the counter and that’s how Bagan punished East Bengal.
Against Mumbai City, they’ll face a different challenge as Lobera likes to play possession based football.
“It has not been the most ideal preparation for us. For a team that has been together for two-and-a-half weeks, I think we put in a good performance in our first game.
ISL 2020-21: Lobera not willing to sacrifice possession for results
While East Bengal are undisputedly one of the giants of Indian football and will always find a mention when it comes to trophies, Mumbai City are emerging with a serious footballing project.
Sergio Lobera arrived from FC Goa and many high-profile players followed, which clearly underlined their ambitions.
While their expensively assembled squad didn’t hit the ground running, they are among the favourites in many people’s books thanks to the experience and know-how of the players and the coach.
The Spaniard will welcome back their talisman Ahmed Jahouh who completed his suspension. The Moroccan was in the thick of the action in their opening game against NorthEast United FC and attempted 40 passes in 43 minutes before being sent off.
“The most important thing for me as a coach is our style of play which is non-negotiable and I try to take advantage of the best players of my team and maybe it’s possible to play together and sometimes it’s not possible,” he said.
Lobera suggested that East Bengal are a well drilled side who deny opposition space to work with. A lot will depend on the likes of Anthony Pilkington, Jacques Maghoma and Matti Steinmann who looked sharp in the first game if East Bengal decide to go head on against Lobera’s heavyweights.
ISL 2020-21: Mumbai City FC vs SC East Bengal Prediction
The two teams will be facing for the first time ever in the ISL since it is the debut season for SC East Bengal in the competition.
Mumbai City FC will be boosted by the return of Ahmed Jahouh in the fold and hope to carry the momentum from their win against FC Goa. Their striker Adam Le Fondre is off the mark in the league and will aim to get on a scoring streak.
SC East Bengal were left ruing their missed chances in the Kolkata Derby loss and will hope for a better performance from the attack. ISL veterans Balwant Singh and Jeje Lalpekhlua will aim to deliver for the Red and Golds.
Prediction: Mumbai City FC 1 – 1 SC East Bengal