Calcutta: After grounding high-flying Bangalore FC in their last match at home, East Bengal will be looking to tame table-toppers Salgaocar when they take on the Goan outfit in an eight round match of the Airtel I-League, in Kalyani on Friday.
East Bengal are currently seven points behind Salgaocar in the ninth place, but have three games in hand. Both teams enjoyed 2-0 wins in their respective seventh round matches. East Bengal beat Bangalore FC in Kalyani while Salgaocar beat United SC at the same venue.
The three points against Bangalore ended East Bengal’s four-game winless streak in Kalyani but they haven’t won back-to-back matches in the I-League since February and will be wary of Salgaocar, who picked up 13 points from a possible 18.
The match will see the return of Uga Okpara in East Bengal defence, while Ryuji Sueoka and Reisangmi Vashum’s injuries will continue to bother them.
East Bengal though have the best goal-scoring ratio in the league so far with South Sudan striker James Moga bagging three in as many games.
East Bengal head coach Marcos Falopa is now looking for some consistency.
“Now that the AFC Cup is over, the I-League is our target. I am happy with the effort of the players so far and have complete faith in each of them,” said the Brazilian.
Salgaocar will be playing their fourth straight away game and coach Derrick Pereira will be satisfied with a return of six points from the previous three matches.
East Bengal also leads the overall head-to-head in the combined history of the National Football League and I-League with 12 wins, 10 draws and 10 defeats in 32 meetings.