ISL 2020-21 preview: Resurgent SC East Bengal takes on consistent Mumbai City

SC East Bengal will take on Mumbai City FC in match 67 of the 2020-21 Indian Super League at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco da Gama on Friday.

Table-topper Mumbai City FC will square off against tenth-placed SC East Bengal during Friday night's ISL 2020-21 encounter in Goa (File Photo).   -  ISL/SPORTZPICS

SC East Bengal has been able to work out a significant turnaround by remaining unbeaten in the last seven matches, something that seemed improbable when it embarked on its maiden Indian Super League journey.

The Kolkata giant will be facing its toughest opponent on this path of redemption when it takes on the current league leader Mumbai City FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Friday.

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East Bengal had lost 3-0 against Mumbai City FC in the first phase of the tournament. Since then, the team under Liverpool FC legend Robbie Fowler has made some effective changes in its tactics to be able to stem the sequence of failures which happened till the first five rounds.

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“Mumbai City is a good side and they have been doing really well,” said Fowler’s assistant and one of India’s most successful midfielders, Renedy Singh, before the match.

“I feel we have to consider our own style, how we have played in the last seven matches. It is a process that we have to continue. We will work on our own goal while giving respect to them,” Renedy added.

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The arrival of young Nigerian striker Bright Enobakhare has given East Bengal a boost in its attack. This helped the side claim two wins in the last seven outings, while the remaining five were draws. 

Another big plus for the side has been the form of goalkeeper Debjit Majumder, whose effective vigil under the bar has been one of the big reasons behind the team’s recent good showing. East Bengal is currently at the 10th spot with 12 points from as many matches.

Mumbai City FC, which is on top with 26 points from 11 matches, is a team driven by the overtly offensive philosophy of Spanish coach Sergio Lobera. It definitely is the most attack-oriented side in the league. This is evident from the fact that Mumbai City has so far scored the most number of goals (10) in the first half, as compared to the remaining clubs in the tournament.

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Lobera’s men are also unbeaten in the last ten games. They need to extend this to three more matches to overtake the record of FC Goa, which remained unbeaten in 12 successive matches.

“The most important thing is to win the title. Obviously, to get there it is a consequence of doing a lot of things well. If during the progress we manage some good numbers, lots of goals, lots of clean sheets and possession of the ball, there is more possibility of winning the trophy," claimed Lobera.

"But if I need to refuse these records in order to win a trophy, then I will prefer to win a trophy because that is the best record of all," he concluded.

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