The first weekend of December will see Northeast United FC go up against the Kolkata Giants SC East Bengal in a eastern derby in the Matchday 17 of the Hero ISL 2020-21 at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco today.
Northeast United FC :
After shocking a few odds in the league, the Highlanders sit at the 3rd spot in points table with a win and 2 draws. The victory against Mumbai City FC and the draws against Kerala Blasters and FC Goa have given Northeast United the much confidence after a disappointing last season. Northeast stopped a desperate FC Goa side who kept knocking at the door with a 1-1 draw at the Fatorda earlier this week.
Gerard Nus’s men are too competitive on the field and the contributions from all the contingents including their attack, midfield, defence have been phenomenal in their first 3 outings. The side from Guwahati will surely be looking to extend their unbeaten run against SC East Bengal tonight.
“The pressure has been there always, since day 1 because it comes from ourself. To be honest it’s not because someone from outside is pushing us, it comes already from inside, we want to do well and because we want to do something. It’s not like we came here for holidays I said that since day 1 that we are not here for vacations. I know Goa must be a beautiful place, unfortunately we cannot enjoy due to covid but we are not here for that reason. We are here to compete to do a serious season. I think we started in good direction and we want to stick to it, improve the things that we have to improve which is obviously a lot of things but we are in a good direction and we’re gonna work to be sure this happens and that’s it that’s the plan.” added Gerard Nus during the Pre Match Press Conference.
SC East Bengal :
The Red and Golds had a disappointing start to their debut Hero Indian Super League campaign with two back to back losses in their first two games. The Robbie Fowler led team is struggling to get in rhythm with the ISL and with injuries to key players. The Kolkata Giants are yet to find the back of the net for the first time in the Indian top flight.
They have just registered 6 shots on target in 2 games and all of them coming from outside the box. The Hero ISL debutants love playing possession based football but lack the cutting edge in the final third.
“We have a few injuries and a few players not available. In terms of our philosophy, we have something that we believe in. We have a way of playing and we will continue to play that way. Obviously, we will respect the opponents 100% but we will play our way. Sometimes it’s about what we can do. Maybe it’s about stopping our individual errors and silly mistakes. That’s why we need to concentrate a little bit more not just as individuals but as a group as well,” SC East Bengal head coach Robbie Fowler said at the pre-match press conference.
Battles to watch out for :
Kwesi Appiah vs Scott Neville
The Ghanaian target man is Northeast United FC’s highest goalscorer alongside Idrissa Sylla. Northeast United’s number 9 is a poacher and has always made sure he comes at rescue whenever his team needs him.
For SC East Bengal it will be Scott Neville who will be organizing the defense in the absence of skipper Daniel Fox. It will surely be a battle to watch out for when these two go up against each other.
Anthony Pilkington vs Dylan Fox
The former EPL star is arguably the most high profile signing for the SC East Bengal. The Englishman is East Bengal’s creative piece of their midfield’s puzzle.
On the other hand, Dylan Fox has always stood tall for his side. The Australian born defender’s solid presence at the back has always been a point of concern for the strikers.
It will a great battle to look out for in tonight’s clash.
Probable Starting XI :
Northeast United FC : Gurmeet, Ashutosh, Fox, Lambot, Gurjinder, Camara, Lalengmawia, Rochherzela, Gallego, Ninthoi, Appiah
SC East Bengal : Debjit, Neville, Abhishek, Narayan, Pilkington, Rafique, Jacques, Steinmann, Surchandra, Angousana, Balwant