ISL 2020-21 preview: SC East Bengal takes on Bengaluru FC in a bottom-half clash

ISL 2021: Robbie Fowler's SC East Bengal will take on Sunil Chhetri's Bengaluru FC in match 80 of the 2020-21 Indian Super League season on Tuesday.

Bengaluru FC and SC East Bengal

East Bengal would be looking to revive its winning form when it meets former champion Bengaluru FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium   -  SPORTZPICS/ISL

SC East Bengal appeared to be hard-pressed for a win as it tried to keep its playoff chances alive. The side coached by Robbie Fowler has taken the road to recovery but its success is limited by seven draws and only two wins. Currently placed 10th in the 11-team ISL line-up, East Bengal would be looking to revive its winning form when it meets former champion Bengaluru FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Tuesday.

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Incidentally, Fowler’s men had picked up the last win (1-0) against the same opposition in the first phase (January 9) and since then the team has been on a four-match winless streak. The team has netted just 12 goals so far, which is the second-lowest tally in the league. What East Bengal has faced in most of its recent outings is a poor rate of conversation when it comes to availing the chances in the attacking-third.

“The results will dictate that obviously (the possibility of making it to the play-offs). We go into games wanting to get the results and we'll keep trying until it is mathematically impossible to get into the top four. At the minute, it is (possible), but the results may dictate that,” Fowler said on the eve of the match.

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Going by their head-to-head record across all competitions, the two teams will be meeting for the 12th time on Tuesday. The Red-and-Gold side leads the record 7-4 with five wins in the I-League and one each in the Federation Cup and ISL.

“We have created a lot of chances, but with results, people will point at us and say that we need a proper centre-forward. Players never go into matches wanting to miss goals. There are lots of positives that we can take from our results. I'm happy with the players we've got,” Fowler said in the SC East Bengal club page.   

Bengaluru FC is placed seventh in the current standings which is the result of remaining winless in its last eight outings and having lost five of them. The team’s poor showing in the last few rounds tells about its shaky defending as it failed to keep a clean sheet in 11 matches. Bengaluru FC has conceded 19 goals so far which only better than Odisha FC and Kerala Blasters. This was most evident in the team's previous showing where it failed to preserve a 2-0 lead against Hyderabad FC and ended up drawing it 2-2.

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Going against East Bengal, Bengaluru’s interim coach and former India campaigner Naushad Moosa will have a bigger worry in strengthening his defence with Spain’s Juan Antonio González (Juanan) and Australian Erik Paartalu set to miss the game.

“If you see the points table, it's not much of a difference,” Moosa said. “Just one win and you're there. That really motivates us and that's what is pushing us to get a positive result. Just one game, three points and we are there. We need to work hard and be there in the playoffs,” the Bengaluru FC coach tried to be optimistic ahead of the match.

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