SC East Bengal‘s difficult start to life in the ISL has followed them into their second season, with the Red and Gold brigade yet to register a win after 5 games. The Blasters on the other hand are buoyed by their first win of the season in their last game against Odisha after two consecutive draws following their opening day defeat.
Manolo Diaz needs a change of fortune and needs it soon. With his side lying bottom of the table and winless, Diaz needs to find a fix for a leaky defence that has conceded as many as 14 goals in 5 games. The Kerala Blasters have problems of their own and unlike SC East Bengal, Vukomanovic’s concern lies on the offensive end of the pitch. With just 5 goals scored in 4 games, Blasters are lacking goals. A leaky defence against an attack that struggles to score, ISL fans are in for quite an intriguing game.
3 Indian Players to look out for
The Goan midfielder signed from Gokulam Kerala is coming off an impressive season in the I-League and has already started 3 games for the Blasters this season. A fiery winger down the right, the 22-year-old is yet to help out the Blasters in the goal-scoring department but has managed to impress Vukomanovic enough to warrant a place in the starting 11 and his first assist and goal don’t look too far down the road.
Sahal Abdul Samad
We can’t be talking about a Blasters game without talking about Sahal Abdul Samad and how he could turn the odds in the Blasters favour. With a goal already to his name, Samad has been a driving force for the Blasters attack and the Manjappada would be banking on him to come up with the goods to unlock an SC East Bengal defence that keeps its door almost ajar.
Hira Mondal has taken to life in the ISL like fish in water. With a man of the match check already under his belt after his impressive display in the 0-0 draw against Chennaiyin, Hira has been a shining light for SC East Bengal in a dismal start to the season. After making it to the I-League team of the season last year with Mohammedan Sporting, Hira joined SC East Bengal at the start of the 2021/22 season and has shone like a diamond in his debut ISL season to date.
3 Foreign Players to look out for
SC East Bengal has scored 8 goals in 5 games which is quite impressive but their defence has been their Achilles heel. The Croatian has already scored a goal in the league but Manolo Diaz will be wanting his star defender to sort out his defensive woes. A former SS Lazio youth product, the 25-year-old could very well be the glue that holds SC East Bengal’s defence together against the Blasters and his experience of playing European club football could come in handy to solidify a leaky back four.
Vazquez broke ISL duck with his first goal in the league in the 2-1 win over Odisha in the last game. Vazquez has quite the CV having played in the Premier League and having made more than 150 appearances in the La Liga. Signed from Sporting Gijon this season, the Spaniard has seemed to form quite a relationship with Adrian Luna, which is a very good sign for the Blasters. Kerala are banking on him for goals and so his performance against SC East Bengal will be under the microscope.
SC East Bengal’s other Croat on the other side of the pitch has already been a fan favourite. Perosevic scored 2 goals in the 3-4 defeat to FC Goa in the last game and has already registered an assist to his name. He looks like the best bet for the Red and Gold brigade to influence the game in their favour with his playmaking abilities and goals.
Both sides have injury woes. While SC East Bengal will be without Arindam Bhattacharya, Jackichand Singh and Ankit Mukherjee, all sidelined with injuries, Kerala Blasters will miss the services of Albino Gomes and Rahul KP who are also injured and will not take part in the match.
Predicted Line Up
SC East Bengal
Head to Head
The Blasters and the Red and Gold Brigade are both yet to win a game against each other. They played out two 1-1 draws last season. The first leg saw Jordan Murray putting Kerala into the lead halfway through the second half, but a stoppage-time equaliser from Scott Neville denied Blasters a win. The second saw a similar story where a Bakary Kone own goal had put SC East Bengal in the lead but Jeakson equalised in second-half stoppage time to deny the Kolkata outfit a win on this occasion.
This looks like a cagey affair with both sides desperate for points. While the Blasters will look to build on their win in the last game and string a winning run, SC East Bengal are looking for their first win of the season. If the Blasters attack attains potency it can be a high scoring game, otherwise, we could be headed towards a boring stalemate. Our prediction is a narrow Blasters win, 2-1 in the favour of the Yellow Army.
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