Rooted to the foot of the table with no wins to show for, a deflated SC East Bengal will try and turn the tide against Kerala Blasters FC in the 2021-22 Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Sunday.
The red and golds have just two points to show for from five games. Kerala, on the other hand, have five points from four outings, having won their last engagement against Odisha FC 2-1.
For the Kolkata side, it has been downhill after the draw against Jamshedpur FC in their opener. Even though the Jose Manuel Diaz-coached side held Chennaiyin FC to a 0-0 draw, their next result and the one before the Chennaiyin game underlined gaping holes in defence.
The 100-year old club has also not had the rub of the green with injuries to key players like goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya, Jackichand Singh, and Darren Sidoel not helping their cause.
“We have to improve our level in every practice, and improve our decision-making process every match. We have played 5 matches till now and in some of them, we haven’t converted our chances to win when we had the opportunity. We have no new injury worries, It’s only Jackichand Singh and Darren Sidoel as of now. Jacki has been improving but is not in a state to complete a whole practice session. Darren Sidoel is out with a hamstring injury and we must be cautious about these injuries,” said boss Jose Manuel Diaz.
Kerala are mid-table but will come into the game confident of logging their second win of the campaign. The men in yellow have shown spark upfront with Adrian Luna at the heart of their creative force.
Luna played a key role in their Kerala Blasters’ first win of the season by providing assists for both their goals. He created two chances, the joint-most chances created for Kerala Blasters in that match along with Sahal Abdul Samad.
“We are very glad to have Luna in our side. He not only brings the commitment on the field, as a human being, he fits well into the squad and he is being ably supported by the entire team,” Vukomanovic praised Luna.
Luna was involved in the right areas of the pitch for Kerala Blasters. He had the most touches out of any KBFC player in the attacking third with 19 touches. Kerala Blasters also put an end to their 11-match winless run. It was their second-longest winless run in their Hero ISL history.
The Serbian manager also talked about the fighting spirit of his team. “In football, you can never give up. These boys have it in them to prove themselves. I am happy to see that quality in them. There are ‘sometimes teams and players’, we don’t want to be that, we want to be a ‘every time team’ and show what we have on the field.”
( Photo Credit SC East Bengal Twitter)