Friday, December 08, 2017 Report by
Under-fire coach Khalid Jamil looks to make amends against Lajong FC After Derby Debacle.
A draw against the defending champions Aizawl FC & a loss to the arch-rivals in the "Boro" derby was not quite the script that Khalid Jamil had even imagined in his worst nightmares when he decided to settle & take charge of the Red & Gold brigade earlier this year.
After the loss in the derby, many have raised questions of his tactical awareness & first XI selection criteria. Exclusion of captain Arnab Mandal from the squad has created many questions & doubts amongst fans, media & a part of the club management. When East Bengal conceded their first goal from a set piece and third of the season the defensive formation & marking went haywire as the second post was all left empty yet again. Schoolboy errors had cost the team dearly in the past 14 years failing to win the most priced silverware of Indian football. Mehtab Singh yet again started as the U22 & got subbed in the 22nd minute of the game by Chullova U22, this act is still haunting many as they fail to find a valid & logical answer. Why would the youngest I-League winning coach waste substitutes in a game that has an utmost importance to the league & the club history? Was he under pressure & that too reflected upon his players who seemed to have lost their rhythm after conceding the goal? Is Khalid yet to figure out the best starting XI & confused? The answer should come sooner when they lock horns with Lajong FC or else the pressure will only rise & create a suffocating atmosphere for Khalid Jamil.
Poor Plaza Show :
Last year he was the second highest goalscorer in the league behind Dicka. But this year he is not even his shadow of the past. Missing sitters in crucial games, failing to create chances for others, failing to dribble past defenders, failing to shield/hold the ball. Qualities that are displayed by the leading forwards of the top-notch teams challenging for the league has been missing since the last two matches. When teams top striker fails to score they tend to lag behind or opt to find a way to score goals & win matches. In this case, Charles too has been ineffective in his two outings. Foreign recruits failing to stamp their authority in the game has been an old ailment for East Bengal & this year the performance is below par. A severe headache for Khalid & especially the club management who had consistently been criticized for their process of recruiting such talents without considering the adverse effects they had faced over the years, the ailment seems to be untreatable & questionable now.
A must win game for Khalid & his boys to get their I -League aspirations back on the track. We might expect some changes in the starting XI. The East Bengal FC gaffer for the very first time may transform from his usual 4-1-4-1 formation to 4-4-2 formation with Plaza & Charles starting the game Katsumi might enjoy a wider role alongside Brandon. Induction of Charles may see Bazo lose his place to Prakash Sarkar U22, Amna will partner him in the heart of the midfield. The back four might see a return of the skipper Arnab Mandal with big Brazilian Edu slotted alongside him in the center of the defense. Chullova might start as the left back & Salaam might be slotted in right back position. Luis Barreto might retain his place as he had prevented the downfall in the derby.
Lajong's Dream Run:-
Bobby Nongbet's side had started things with a bang in I League 2017 -2018. They have notched up two wins out of two matches & occupies second position having played a match lesser than group leaders Minerva FC. With a young & energetic side Lajong FC has always been a thorn in the flesh for the Red & Gold giants. The 22-year-old midfielder Redeem Tlang has already shown his talent on the grass by scoring two goals & playing a vital part in Lajong's win. This team is full of surprises & can further thwart back East Bengal's title aspirations.
The match will be staged at Barasat Stadium on 9th December 2017, Saturday from 5:30 pm. It will also be available live on Star Sports 2 & Hot Star App. Stay tuned for a mouth-watering clash.