Interesting clash on cards as East Bengal, Neroca still nurture title dreams

East Bengal meets the debutant NEROCA FC at home in Salt Lake Stadium on Thursday, in a match that in all likelihood will be deciding the runner-up.

A win can only give East Bengal a claim for the second spot unless Minerva fumbles in its task of beating Churchill Brothers and concedes the advantage to the three teams currently placed behind it in the league standings.   -  Twitter

Having seen the chance of winning the first I-League title slipping out following the 2-2 draw against Shillong Lajong FC in the previous outing, East Bengal head coach Khalid Jamil could only sport a look of resignation ahead of his team’s final I-league match.

East Bengal meets the debutant NEROCA FC at home in Salt Lake Stadium on Thursday, in a match that in all likelihood will be deciding the runner-up.

READ: Minerva on cusp of history as final encounter beckons

At the start of the final round (18th round) of action, East Bengal is currently tied on 30 points with its traditional rival Mohun Bagan while its opponent Neroca FC is in the sole second spot with 31 points behind the leader Minerva Punjab FC (32 points). 

A win can only give East Bengal a claim for the second spot unless Minerva fumbles in its task of beating Churchill Brothers and concedes the advantage to the three teams currently placed behind it in the league standings.

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In the situation of a draw or a loss for Minerva, it will open the doors both for East Bengal and Neroca, which is placed closest to the leader. These possibilities keep the match alive urging both the sides to go for a win.

“I am not doing any calculations. This is the last game so we have to get three points and see what happens next. I am only focusing on what is in my control. Minerva is currently at the top of the table with the maximum points so they are definitely the title favourite now,” Jamil said ahead of the match. With Brazilian defender Eduardo Ferreira returning from a suspension, Jamil will now have a stronger defence to look for.

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“There is no pressure on us. We will enjoy the game and look to win. We definitely have a chance to lift the title and will be definitely try make the best finish,” Gift Raikhan, the head coach of the Imphal-based side said.

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