I-League: High-flying East Bengal takes on depleted Churchill

East Bengal will look to move up in the I-League table with a win over fourth-placed Churchill Brothers on Sunday.

East Bengal will look to continue its four-game winning streak.   -  I-League

East Bengal will be eager to take advantage of the absence of some key Churchill Brothers players when the two sides meet in an I-League engagement at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Sunday.

Riding the crest of its four-match winning streak, EB – which is slotted third with 31 points from 15 matches and three points adrift table topper Chennai City FC – will be keen to maintain the winning momentum and strengthen its chances of winning the title.

The host is not being complacent taking on a depleted Churchill side or tackling its erstwhile forward Willis Plaza.

“We are not playing against only Plaza, but all the players of Churchill Brothers. We are focusing on the match against Churchill and not thinking too far ahead,” said EB coach Alejandro Menendez as his team rested on Saturday.

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EB, which had blanked Shillong Lajong 5-0 in its previous match on Thursday, will bank on the scoring prowess of its top scorers Jobby Justin, Laldanmawia Ralte and Enrique Alejandro while searching for its fifth win in a row.

Willis Plaza has been in imperious form this season, leading the goal-scorers chart. (File Photo)   -  Biswaranjan Rout

 

Churchill, which has not tasted victory in last three weeks, has drawn twice and lost once in its previous three matches. The absence of Gambian forward Dawda Ceesay, who forms a good partnership with league's leading scorer Plaza, midfielder Richard Costa and defender N. Mohanraj due to injuries will hurt the touring side.

Even as its chances for the title look bleak, the Goan outfit, which is at fourth with 30 points from 17 matches, will try to put its best foot forward amidst adversity.

“Unfortunately, we lost vital points. Now it's very difficult to get back to the title race. We will find a way to deal with the challenge,” said Churchill coach Petre Gigiu.

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