East Bengal FC would be resuming its search for the first win at home as the ‘Red and Gold brigade’ returns after a 13-day break to meet Bengaluru FC, at the Salt Lake Stadium on Friday.
The two sides are placed close to each other in the bottom half of the current standings and would be eager to get the full quota of points to keep the play-off qualification chances alive. Bengaluru is in the eighth position with 10 points, while East Bengal is placed next with nine points. When the two sides met in the first phase of the tournament, East Bengal notched a narrow 1-0 win over Bengaluru in the latter’s backyard.
In its previous outing, East Bengal lost 3-0 against Mumbai City FC, to see its dream of winning the first home game extended to another round. With seven losses in the last 10 outings, East Bengal will be hard-pressed to better its performance and seek the fourth win of the tournament. “Three wins in ten games is not good enough, but we have assessed the performance so far, and the players are working hard in training. We just need to be patient because we are on the right track,” said the East Bengal coach Stephen Constantine.
Much like the host, Bengaluru FC has also been able to get three wins in 11 matches and was blanked 3-0 at home by Hyderabad FC in the previous match.
“We have to put our results together, work hard and get wins regardless of who we are playing. While the objective is achievable, we have got to believe we can do that,” said Bengaluru FC coach Simon Grayson.
“We have developed better in possession, created more chances, and our performance has been pleasing to the eye. We have got to now turn good performances into good wins,” he added.
The two sides have faced each other five times in the tournament with each having a couple of wins to its credit. One match ended in a draw.