SC East Bengal are 10th in the points table with just 10 points (1 win and 7 draws) to show for from 16 games. The Red and Gold Brigades will have nothing to lose, as it will be about salvaging some pride after being mathematically ruled out of the playoffs race with their 2-1 loss to Odisha FC in their previous game.
They have just managed to win one game so far and head coach Mario Rivera will be eager to change that statistic and end the season. The Red and Gold Brigade’s journey that remains is deemed to be a tough one with three of their matches lined up against semi-final contenders in Kerala Blasters FC, Mumbai City FC, and Bengaluru FC. However, with nothing to lose, SC East Bengal could well spoil some teams’ chances.
Meanwhile, their opponents Kerala Blasters FC are 5th in the league table with 23 points (6 wins and 5 draws) in 14 matches. They have won three out of their last five matches and are level on points with Bengaluru FC at fourth position, having played a couple of matches less than them. The Blasters lost 3-0 to Jamshedpur FC in their last match. Kerala will look to get back into the top-four after suffering a heavy defeat at the hands of Red Miners in their last outing.
SC East Bengal head coach Mario Rivera addressed the media during the pre-match press conference ahead of their game against SC East Bengal on Monday, 14th February at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco, Goa. The game will kickoff at 7:30 PM IST. Below are his excerpts from the press conference.
Three out of your four remaining matches are against teams in the top half. Mario spoke about it and if he thinks he can play a role in influencing the top four races from below.
“Honestly speaking we are not thinking about that. We are thinking only to try to win the next match, but I’m sure that any of the top teams won’t be happy to play against SC East Bengal now because they know that we will be a very difficult team to win.”
Rivera gave an update on Jackichand Singh who was out for a long time due to an injury.
“Yes, with Jackie (Jackichand Singh) we are happy because he’s training now. Last two-three training, he could do all the practice and we will see what happens today. Hopefully, he’s well and if he is okay then we can put him on the starting list for the match.”
Mario gave his assessment of the opposition team Kerala Blasters FC.
“Kerala Blasters are a very good team, they have a very good offensive part and they also have a good defense. They have some players that cannot play tomorrow but they have a long squad. The coach has adapted very well for the Indian Super League and they are giving a very good performance, a balanced team that plays well in attack, good in defense, is a really good team.”
Rivera spoke on if there are any injury concerns in the team.
“Yes, we have some players, but we have to wait for this afternoon’s training after today we will see which players will come to play but I think some of the players will not be on the list.”
Gaffer Mario spoke about when Fran Sota will get his first start in the ISL.
“Yes, Fran Sota is already fit and ready. We can expect to see him play in the upcoming matches.”
Mario shared his opinion on full-back Hira Mondal who has been a revelation this season.
“Yes, it’s one of the revelations for sure but he’s doing very well many things also, he needs to learn other things. The important thing now for him is to try to learn every day if he starts to think that he’s a good player or something like that. This is the moment that the players stop developing and now for us the important thing is to try to teach him every day to do better and that he can play with confidence and correct the mistakes and do the things that he’s doing well for a long time.”
Mario Rivera shared his verdict on former club captain Lalrindika Ralte who has recently retired.
“Yesterday I saw the news. For me was a big pleasure to coach Ralte. He’s a nice person and was a good player as well. He always gave his best and he was a very good example for all of the Indian players. I texted him yesterday wishing him all the best now that he is out of the football and I’m very happy to have met him in the same team. I think he’s a good example for the young players.”
Follow our website for the latest updates on Indian Football.