I-League: East Bengal takes on Gokulam Kerala in a crucial tie

Losing three matches successively after two wins at the start, East Bengal is placed a lowly eighth with six points. Gokulam, which played five of its six matches at home, will be hoping to rise up the ranks from its current sixth position.

Rattled by a string of reverses host East Bengal will be eagerly looking for a turn of fortune when it meets the visitor from Kozhikode Gokulam Kerala FC at the Salt Lake Stadium in a I-League fixture on Saturday. The contest assumes importance for both the sides with each hoping for a full quota of points to better its position in the current standings.

Losing three matches successively after two wins at the start, East Bengal is placed a lowly eighth with six points. Gokulam, which played five of its six matches at home, will be hoping to rise up the ranks from its current sixth position.

A win will hoist Gokulam, currently on nine points with two wins and three draws, to the second spot. A status which looks necessary to keep its confidence high ahead of a series of ‘away’ ventures (seven matches in all) after it returns home for a lone home outing against Real Kashmir.

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A win for East Bengal will be quietening the growing restlessness among its legion of fans after the team’s third straight loss, which came against holder Minerva Punjab FC barely three days ago. East Bengal’s Spanish coach Alejandro Garcia has been trying to get the right balance in defence, which has been the team’s weakness after conceding seven goals.

“I am happy with the performance but there are some areas where we must improve,” Garcia said ahead of the match. “Recently we met the players and tried to motivate them. It seems that they are ready to give their best,” the Spanish gaffer added.

The visitor, which has collected eight points out of the possible 15 from its five home outings, has not been very impressive so far owing to the foreigners who are searching for form. Gokulam coach Bino George hoped the inclusion of Ugandan defensive midfielder Mudde Musa may help matters. “We will focus on getting all three points. East Bengal has been beaten thrice but we cannot take them lightly. We do not have any stars but we will look do well as a team,” George said.
 

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