East Bengal FC find themselves six points off the final playoff spot as they take on a well-rested Mumbai City FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata. The Torch Bearers are yet to get off the mark at home this season, while their next opponents are the only side that are unbeaten in the league so far this season as they look to reinstate themselves at the top of the table.
Approaching the midway point of the season, East Bengal FC have played three games at home so far and have lost all three. The Torch Bearers have scored three goals and conceded seven in the process. In their last game, Stephen Constantine’s men failed to score for the third time this season as they went down 2-0 against Hyderabad FC.
Striker Cleiton Silva got off to a slow start this season but now finds himself just two goals shy of being the tournament’s leading goalscorer. In nine games played so far, the Brazilian has found the back of the net on five occasions. His teammate, Naorem Singh, could go level on the number of assists with MCFC’s Greg Stewart if he sets a goal up against the Islanders.
“They have a good team and are playing well. We will fight like we fight with everybody. I don’t think we have been outplayed or destroyed by any team in the league so far. We have been unfortunate and made some poor mistakes, and we have paid for those mistakes. Hopefully, we will continue to improve,” said Constantine.
Mumbai City FC are the only unbeaten side in the league so far and come into this game with the best away record in the league. The Islanders have won three out of their four away matches this season, drawing only the opening day fixture against Hyderabad FC. Des Buckingham’s side are well rested, as they did not have a game last week.
During Matchweek 9, Mumbai City FC breezed past FC Goa with an assertive 4-1 victory at home. Jorge Diaz is the club’s leading scorer after netting six goals in nine games. The Argentine striker is just one behind leader Abdenasser El Khayati in the race for the Golden Boot. Stewart continues to be a pivotal presence in the middle and final thirds and sits at the top of the assists chart.
“Stephen Constantine is a good head coach with experience in India. He knows how to get the best out of his players, and he has done very well with the team so far,” said Buckingham.
“In a challenging test, we will have to be at the top of our game, and play the football that we want to come away with the result that we want,” he added.
The two sides have met four times in the Hero ISL. The Islanders have won thrice, and one encounter has ended in a draw. They last met in the Durand Cup earlier this season, where East Bengal FC beat Mumbai City FC 4-3.