ISL 2020-21 Preview: SC East Bengal takes on Hyderabad FC in a bid to keep play-off hopes alive

ISL 2020-21: SC East Bengal will need to win each of its next four games, starting on Friday against Hyderbad FC, if it is to remain in contention for an Indian Super League play-off berth.

SC East Bengal

SC East Bengal is currently placed 10th in the Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21) table with 16 points from as many matches.   -  ISL/Sportzpics

It's all or nothing for SC East Bengal. After a poor start to its maiden Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21) campaign, the Kolkata club has an outside chance of qualifying for the playoffs but it needs to win all of its remaining matches to be in contention. It's next challenge is against an in-form Hyderabad FC, which is unbeaten in eight games.

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The Nizams have enjoyed a terrific season that sees them placed fourth on the table, level on points with third-placed FC Goa and fifth-placed NorthEast United FC.

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SC East Bengal has a gargantuan task ahead. After Firday's game, it will take on ATK Mohun Bagan, NorthEast and Odisha FC in its last three games.

However, assistant coach Tony Grant feels the clash against Hyderabad may be the toughest one yet. “I rate them really highly, more highly than I rate most of the clubs. They have recruited over the last two years really well and they have developed some really good, young players. It’s going to be a tough game,” he said.

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He added, “When the first time we played, we gave them a helping hand, they scored two goals in seconds. It wasn’t great play by them, it was more poor play by us why they scored. But they are going to give us a good challenge. They have got a lot of young players and they are a few points ahead of us, so they have got more to hold on to.”

Hyderabad FC coach Manolo Marquez, who recently signed a two-year contract extension, is eager to seal the win and enhance his side's chances of remaining in the top-four.

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“It's a very tough game because you know that they started the season late because they were the last team to join the ISL. I remember after five or six games, they had only one or two points. They changed a lot of players and now they have very good foreigners. They have signed one of the best players in this league, Bright (Enobakhare),” he said.

“(If) we win all the games, we will be in the top four. The end is close. We need to take it game by game and win points,” he added.

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