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Uga’s return will be a big boost: Sueoka

Calcutta: Saturday’s CFL Derby was certainly an inconsequential affair. But it did expose the skeletons in the East Bengal cupboard, one of them being their vulnerable defence.

Mohun Bagan showed on several occasions that the East Bengal defence has an entirely different look in the absence of Uga Okpara and Arnab Mondal, and can be breached without breaking much sweat. The Gurwinder Singhs and Raju Gaikwads need to work a lot on their game if they are to be regulars in the team.

Without doubt, East Bengal would have been better off had they avoided this defeat, with barely two days to go before their opening match in the Federation Cup, against Rangdajied United FC. However, with the competition allowing four foreigners in the playing XI, East Bengal do afford to breathe a little easy.

“The defeat (to Mohun Bagan) has made us humble. It’s good that we’ll keep our feet grounded going into the Federation Cup. We came to know of the areas where we are still falling short,” said Ryuji Sueoka, on the eve of East Bengal’s departure for Manjeri.

“Defence is one area where need to work a bit more. But Uga’s comeback will definitely be one of the major positives. Our defence will be taken care of by his presence. He does make our defence stronger,” he emphasised.

East Bengal, though, have a mighty task on hand as they would be up against the likes of Bengaluru FC and Sporting Clube de Goa in their group, which is being referred to as the “Group of Death.”