I-League: Chennai City FC hosts rejuvenated East Bengal

Under the stewardship of a reputable coach — Alejandro Menendez — and with two new Spanish players in its ranks, East Bengal is set to be a formidable opponent to the in-form Chennai City FC.

Sweating it out: Players belonging to Chennai City FC practise at the Nehru Stadium in Coimbatore, ahead of its I League contest against East Bengal.   -  M. Periasamy

East Bengal hadn’t enjoyed a great outing in Kolkata when it had played against Chennai City FC a couple of months ago; it had gone down fighting 2-1. Since then, however, the club has been a force to reckon with, disturbing the calculations of others in the fray.

It may well look forward to do the same when it takes on Chennai once again in a Hero I-League contest at the Nehru Stadium here on Monday.

The team’s cause has also been aided by the induction of two new Spanish stars in Jaime Santos Colado and Antonio Dovate; the two have added a lot of energy to the rest of the unit. Akbar Nawas, Chennai head coach, acknowledged the quality of the new players. “They are good players but we are going to play our game and to our strengths,” he said on Sunday, looking ahead to the upcoming contest.

He admitted East Bengal is a strong team with a reputable coach — Alejandro Menendez — in its ranks. “After we had defeated them, the team has improved much under him and, so have we. So, we cannot benchmark on the last outing,” he said.

‘One game at a time’

Commenting on his team’s preparations, Akbar said, “[We have prepared as we do for] any other match and will be competitive like how we have [been] so far with the other teams.”

“Our coaching team has video-analysed our opponent’s game like how they did for the other games, but I have told my boys to go out there and compete. Our mindset from the day we started is to take one game at a time,” he added.

Thankfully the team has no injury concerns. And with Nestor Gordillo, Pedro Manzi, Sandro Rodriguez and Roberto Eslava, the awesome foursome from Spain in full flow for Chennai, it’s going to be a Spanish treat from both sides for the fans on match day.

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