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East Bengal to entertain Churchill Brothers

Rangdajied United FC v East Bengal Club

Rangdajied United FC v East Bengal Club

East Bengal Club take on I-League and Federation Cup holders Churchill Brothers SC in a Round 17 clash of the Airtel I-League at the Saltlake Stadium on Tuesday evening.

It will only be East Bengal’s 12th match of this I-League season so they do have plenty of games in hand but the red-and-gold brigade can’t afford too many more slip-ups as they have already dropped 15 points.

The I-League break turned out to be a mixed bag for the Kolkata giants as they picked up the local league title but missed out on the Federation Cup and the IFA Shield. More importantly they had as many as 15 fixtures during the near two-month break and thus were overworked compared to the other title contenders.

On the other hand, the interval proved to be a blessing in disguise for Churchill Brothers as they lifted the club’s first-ever Federation Cup crown in Kochi while new foreigners Anthony Wolfe and Christian Lagos were signed.

The Goan club resumed their campaign last week with a vital 1-0 win over Rangdajied United on home soil. The result moved the Red Machines out of the rock-bottom spot but they need a good run of results to stay clear of relegation.

This fixture will be the first of two away games in Kolkata within three days for Churchill Brothers as they take on Mohun Bagan on Friday. After that they head to Indonesia for their first match of the AFC Cup group stage.

Head coach Mariano Dias though has made it clear that they will prioritise the I-League and the presence of their legendary technical director Subhash Bhowmick, who couldn’t be with the team during the Federation Cup due to a family emergency, will certainly raise the morale of the squad.

It’s more than four years now since East Bengal last recorded a home league win over Churchill Brothers and coach Armando Colaco would be hoping to end that wait this time.

“Every game from now until the end of the season is important. We have to be at our very best,” the five-time Indian league winning coach was quoted as saying.

Although the teams have different targets for the rest of the campaign, a win would move Churchill Brothers within two of East Bengal’s tally, albeit having played three extra games, and put further pressure on Colaco’s side.

(Report courtesy AIFF Media)