ISL 2020-21 preview: Winless East Bengal and Odisha meet in bottom-table clash

SC East Bengal and Odisha FC will look to exploit respective weaknesses in the match of the league laggards on Sunday at the Tilak Maidan Stadium.

Robbie Fowler and Stuart Baxter, the coaches of SC East Bengal and Odisha FC, find themselves chasing their respective side's first win of the season.   -  Sportzpics

Robbie Fowler and Stuart Baxter, the coaches of SC East Bengal and Odisha FC, find themselves chasing a similar target. It is about finding the first win for their teams in the Indian Super League, which is on the verge of reaching the halfway stage.

East Bengal and Odisha FC are the only two winless sides in the tournament and currently occupy the bottom two places in the current league standings. When the two meet on Sunday at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco, there will be a compelling desire in both the camps of ending a long stretch of disappointment.

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The two teams have put up almost similar struggles but East Bengal under Fowler has shown some hope managing a couple of draws in the previous two outings against established teams like Kerala Blasters and Chennaiyin FC. Odisha FC also drew its previous match against North East United, which helped it end a series of four consecutive losses.

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In their struggle for consistency since the start, both East Bengal and Odisha have scored just 5 goals, which remains this season’s lowest so far. Their defending also has been quite vulnerable conceding 13 and 11 goals respectively.

“The boys have done really well in the past couple of weeks and there are lots of positives. Yes, we haven't won a game yet but we've lost only one of our last four games. We are taking the right steps for the benefit of the club,” Fowler said ahead of the match.

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The Liverpool FC legend is particularly worried about the team’s attack and was happy that East Bengal has managed to sign its seventh foreigner in the 22-year-old Nigerian forward Bright Enobakhare. “As a manager, you want to make every area in your team better. If the players are available and can come in, it's great. But we will have to work with what we have got at present. The players are getting better every single day,” he said.

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“We had been looking for our seventh foreigner for a long time. He is a very clever player. I wouldn't say he is an archetypal No. 9 who would grab a lot of goals from that position, but he is someone who can open up defenses. He has got quick feet and is very skilful. We are sure that he will strengthen the squad and we are delighted to have him,” Fowler said about the former Wolves player Enobakhare. East Bengal also announced the signing of two Indian defenders in the young Ankit Mukherjee and the vastly experienced former India campaigner Raju Gaikwad.

Odisha FC head coach Stuart Baxter hoped his team will soon be able to turn a new page. “We have got new foreigners who are settling into Indian football and we have got young players who are helping the younger players. I have been very pleased with the fact that they approach every game with a belief of getting the result. I think if we can continue to do that then we can expect a better result in the future.” Baxter said.

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