I-League: East Bengal takes on struggling Punjab FC

Punjab FC suffered a 3-0 victory in its opening match of the new I-League season, while East Bengal drew with Real Kashmir.

East Bengal players celebrate the equaliser against Real Kashmir.   -  Twitter @ILeagueOfficial

Kolkata giant East Bengal will be squaring off against 2017-18 champion Punjab FC in the eighth match of the 2019-20 I-League season at the Guru Nanak Stadium in Ludhiana on Saturday.

Punjab FC has not had a great outing against Churchill Brothers FC Goa, where it went down 3-0. The team from Ludhiana will be playing its first match at its home ground and will be under immense pressure as it will be missing captain Anwar Ali, who was sent off in the match against the Red Machines.

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The defence may be an area for concern for Punjab Head Coach, Yan Law, as it was left exposed against Churchill in a match it conceded three goals. The coach will also be concerned about the finishing and creativity of the team as it goes up against an attack-minded opposition.

Yan Law said, “We had a disappointing result against Churchill Brothers on the opening game of the season. According to stats, the game was played evenly, we actually had more chances than the opposition, but failed to convert any as the Churchill defence held us well. Our lapse in defending in the midfield and attacking third caused us problems in the defending third.”

He resonated confidence in his team, however, and added, “We have worked on all the problems, analysed everything in detail where things went wrong, and the boys are pretty confident for the next game against Quess East Bengal at home.

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East Bengal, on the other hand, will be disappointed with a 1-1 draw at home in its last game against Real Kashmir, considering the fact that it dominated the match with 64 per cent possession, and had many chances to score.

Its Spanish imports of the team looked sharp in midfield but lacked the killer instinct and failed to conjure-up three points in front of an 11,000-odd strong home support. East Bengal manager Alejandro Menéndez, however, maintained that last game’s result will not change his team’s approach towards the game.

“We have prepared the team in the same way as the first game. We promise good football and a good game. The idea is to approach the game in the same way and try to score as many goals as possible,” said Menéndez.

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