I-League: Desperate East Bengal faces resolute Punjab

Deserted by both form and fortune, a beleaguered East Bengal will look to stop its slide down the points table when it takes on Punjab FC on Thursday.

East Bengal

East Bengal finds itself in a difficult position, being 10th on the points table.   -  AIFF Media

Deserted by both form and fortune, a beleaguered East Bengal will look to stop its slide down the points table when it takes on Punjab FC in an I-League fixture at the Kalyani Stadium on Thursday.

Having lost five matches in the last six outings, East Bengal took a big tumble in the league table and now finds itself struggling at the 10th spot among 11 teams in the standings.

With its investor Quess Corp going through the motions after reiterating its decision to divest its stake by the end of the season, East Bengal finds itself in a financial bind. Just when things were not working out for the team, Spanish head coach Alejandro Menendez put in his papers, deepening the crisis. Now, there are talks about some of the foreign players looking for a way out.

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Menendez’s assistant Mario Rivera, who currently is in charge of the team, shot down the speculations saying all the players are available for selection. “We are trying to work hard and improve on our shortcomings that have cost us the last few matches. We are looking to focus on each match and not think too ahead of ourselves,” he said on the eve of the match.

Rivera knows his team faces a difficult task against Punjab, a team that has lost only once in the last 10 outings and is presently placed second in the table. “We are here with an eye on the championship and will be looking to return to our rhythm quickly,” said Yan Law, the Punjab coach.

After remaining unbeaten in nine matches, Punjab suffered the only defeat against current leader Mohun Bagan in the previous outing at the same venue. The visitor will thus be eager to turn things around, taking on a seemingly weaker opposition in East Bengal.

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