FC Goa will be looking to improve its position in the standings when it takes on the bottom-placed SC East Bengal in a 12th round match of the Indian Super League (IS) at Bambolim on Wednesday.

Goa has remained unbeaten in the last three rounds but did not come up with anything outstanding under its new head coach Derrick Pereira. With the COVID-19 outbreak in the squads quarantining a good number of players, the teams have been struggling to field their best eleven in the recent games. Goa had missed the services of key Spaniards Edu Bedia and Ivan Garrido in its match against North-East United FC, which ended in a 1-1 draw. A win against East Bengal will see Goa move up from its current ninth position and close the gap on the top four teams.

“When I came in, I did not want to change too much. We kept the same formation, the 3-4-3 system but just adjusted the structure and the boys have responded well. There is always scope for improvement and we will look to do well in the coming days,” Pereira said.

SC East Bengal will be looking to turn a new page under its new Spanish coach Mario Rivera, who returns to the side after helping it become the I-League runner-up in the 2019-20 season.

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Rivera will have his task cut out as he seeks to resurrect the side, having just six points from 11 outings, from the bottom of the table. The team showed some good organisation under interim coach Renedy Singh and managed three successive draws before losing the last outing 0-1 against Jamshedpur FC. Rivera will now have the big challenge of securing the first win that has eluded East Bengal in the 11 rounds so far.

“My first goal is to change the mood of the team. When you join a team in the middle of the season, it means the team has not been doing well. I will try to recuperate the mental situation of the players. The team is in a much better situation than before; now, my challenge is to get the best out of the players,” he said.

The last time the two sides met this season, FC Goa prevailed over East Bengal 4-3 in a keenly contested encounter.