NorthEast United FC will be looking to regain the winning rhythm when it hosts the current wooden spooner SC East Bengal in an Indian Super League season eight fixture at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Friday.
The last year’s semifinalist, NorthEast United, suffered losses in the previous two outings with the last being a humiliating 1-5 rout against Hyderabad FC.
The Khalid Jamil coached side is currently placed 10th with just four points gained from a win and a draw and is just a spot higher than bottom-placed East Bengal, which is the only winless side with three points from as many draws.
Defensive problems have plagued the prospects of both opponents.
The Khalid Jamil coached NorthEast United conceded 11 goals (in a total of 13) from open play, which is the worst figure managed by any side in that department.
East Bengal remains the worst performer overall conceding 15 goals in the six rounds held so far. Injuries to key players and a lack of cohesion in the creative zone have been the common problem for both the opponents.
“Our start has not been that great. We missed a lot of players through injury. I am not giving any excuse but I have never got all my six foreigners fit for selection in any game,” said Jamil.
“We have come close to winning in a few games but we have failed to take those opportunities. We can’t afford to make mistakes against NorthEast United,” said the East Bengal coach Jose Manuel Diaz. The East Bengal side is likely to be rejoined by its captain and goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya, who missed the last few matches owing to injury.