Monday, January 15, 2018 Report by
East Bengal FC all set to lock horns against a resurgent Aizawl FC
It is going to be a reunion for Khalid Jamil as he prepares to take a walk down the memory lane when he revisits Aizawl FC this Tuesday. The place where he rewrote the history books of I-League and went on to clinch the title with Aizawl FC last season. Since then he has moved on to Red & Gold Kolkata giants, but his goal has remained same. He is still fighting with his team in the I-League 2017-2018 and currently sitting at the second position 4 points behind the surprise league leaders Minerva FC.
After a rough start in the Hero I-League, the defending champions have mended their way and after their last win over Chennai City FC they are equal on points with Mohun Bagan AC and with a game in hand are now serious contenders for Hero I-League 2017-2018.
Paulo Menezes has done a decent job by redirecting the defending champions back to the championship challenge after a series of disappointing results. After a lot of players decided to move on the Mizoram outfit has roped in Syhlo Malsawmtluanga the old warhorse of East Bengal FC along with a blended squad consisting of local talents like William Lalnunfela, David Lalrinmuana has stepped up their game combined with Japanese Forward Yugo Kobayashi, Masih Saighani, and midfield warhorse Alfred Jaryan are an ominous threat to I-League contenders.
Aizawl FC is one of the tough opponents for the visiting teams to play at home, as the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Aizawl are buzzed by the ardent supporters who turn up in decent numbers on every matchday to support their home.
East Bengal FC has failed to garner three points playing away from home. They have lost points in the dying seconds of the game against Neroca FC and Churchill Brothers. Leaking goals at the back have been a constant headache for the East Bengal FC gaffer, but equally, the Red & Gold giants have miserably failed to capitalize on opportunities & kill the game off with a second goal. Their I-League opener against Aizawl FC in the Salt Lake stadium saw the team led by two goals for the lion share of the game time but their advantage was wiped out by two last-minute strikes by William Lalnunfela.
Katsumi Yusa has been phenomenal in his debut season for the red and gold's and Syrian wizard Mahmoud Al Amna has pulled the strings in the midfield, but star frontman Willis Plaza has failed to make his mark & might be out of the team as he is still trying to overcome his hamstring injury. Ralte has provided a breather for Khalid Jamil and has netted goals in critical matches. The main concern for the gaffer remains at the back. Apart from Eduardo Ferriera who has been the rock at the back, skipper Arnab Mondal has often been caught on the wrong foot by several attackers, against Neroca FC Turkovic and Churchill Brother's debutant Koffi managed to breach with curlers identically from the same position.
Amidst the match build-up, East Bengal's new recruit Dudu Omagbemi arrived on 14th January to replace Brazilian forward Charles De Souza, but unfortunately he won't be taking any part in the against the defending champions Aizawl FC Joby Justin might start the match after his impressive performance & diving headed goal against Churchill Brothers FC has earned him a lot of praise and accolades from supporters and the gaffer. We might see an unchanged formation but Prakash Sarkar might start the game in place of Bazie Armand, Gurwinder Singh might replace Arnab Mondal at the back partner with Eduardo Ferriera.
With Minerva FC's win against Shillong Lajong FC, it has turned out to be a do or die encounter against Aizawl and any hiccups and point loss might seee the title chance fade away for the East Bengal FC
The match will be aired live From Rajiv Gandhi Stadium Aizawl on Star Sports 2 @ 16th January, Tuesday from 2:00 pm and it can also be live streamed on Hotstar. We can expect a mouth-watering clash as East Bengal FC would look to reinstate their position atop in the Hero I-League 2017-2018 points table.