| Saumik Dey and James Moga, during a training session, on Monday. A Telegraph picture |
Calcutta: East Bengal need just one point from their match against United SC, on Tuesday, here, at the Salt Lake Stadium, should they make the semi-finals of the ongoing IFA Shield.
However, United SC are in no mood to give in easily. Rather, they are quite upbeat having beaten Korean outfit Busan Sun Moon FC in their previous game.
Besides, East Bengal, on most occasions, have found the going to be difficult against United SC, who had beaten the red-and-golds in last year’s final to win their maiden IFA Shield title.
East Bengal will also have to do without the dependable Arnab Mondal, who’s out due to double booking.
Colaco tried out both Saumik Dey and Harmanjyot Singh Khabra in defence during Monday’s training session. Saumik may go on to get the coach’s nod.
Colaco, for whom the IFA Shield doesn’t carry much significance under the circumstances, sounded satisfied with the way East Bengal have played so far in the competition.
“In the first match (against Busan Sun Moon FC), we were unable to utilise the chances that came our way. But we improved a lot in the second match,” he reasoned.
East Bengal, though, had got past Geylang International of Singapore, riding goals by Seiminlen Doungel and Edeh Chidi.
United SC, on the other hand, are gearing up to register another victory and take themselves to a safer position.
Anjan Nath, the assistant coach, has been able to reorganise his team after Eelco Schattorie finally gave in to his frustration and left in a huff, thanks to the financial crisis that jeopardised United SC’s prospects to a great extent this season.
Nonetheless, the hard-fought 2-1 win over Sun Moon FC, on Saturday, gives them a fillip not just for Tuesday’s showdown against East Bengal, but for a successful defence of their title as well.
Lalkamal Bhowmick, a vital cog in United’s scheme of things, said: “They (East Bengal) have a balanced team, especially (James) Moga and Chidi are both good strikers.
“But we are also well organised. We had shown that in our previous match. We hope to maintain our champions’ lucků So, don’t write us off,” the seasoned midfielder retorted.
In another group A match, Sun Moon FC will take on bottom-placed Geylang International.
The Koreans have managed only one point from their two outings, from the draw against East Bengal. Geylang, however, are languishing in the last place without a single point in their kitty yet.
They have been a disappointment in this tournament. After initial hiccups about their arrival over visa issues, the team landed late in the city.
They faced East Bengal the very next day. During their 0-2 loss, they appeared completely off-colour.
They created just about one positive opening against East Bengal and looked completely out of sorts.
Whether that was due to travel related fatigue remains to be seen.
The Koreans, however, seemed a lot more agile, though they are yet to taste victory in this meet.
But their draw against East Bengal was more a story of missed opportunities. Both teams would desperately want to register their first win on Tuesday.