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regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 April 2024

Durand Cup: Emami East Bengal pin hopes on form

EB to face NorthEast United FC in first semi-final at Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday

DIPTAYAN HAZRA Calcutta Published 29.08.23, 09:31 AM
East Bengal coach Carles Cuadrat.

East Bengal coach Carles Cuadrat. File picture

Emami East Bengal will bank on their good form when they face NorthEast United FC in the first semi-final of the Durand Cup at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday.

East Bengal have been a revelation in this edition of the Durand Cup, which is being seen as a pre-season tournament by most of the participating teams.

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After the draw against Bangladesh Army in their opening match, East Bengal regrouped well, beating Mohun Bagan Super Giant, Punjab FC in the group matches and Gokulam Kerala FC in the last-eight clash.

Coach Carles Cuadrat has marshalled his resources well and much credit goes to the Spaniard for the resurgence in the red and gold brigade.

Nandhakumar Sekar and Naorem Mahesh Singh are playing well on the two flanks and Cuadrat will be hoping the duo continue with the good work on Tuesday too. Despite the slushy ground conditions and pouring rain, Mahesh was brilliant on the left side, working tirelessly and sending in quality crosses.

The Spanish duo of Borja Herrera and Saul Crespo have also been impressive.

“We are in the semi-finals after playing an intense quarter-final against Gokulam Kerala FC. NorthEast United have been unbeaten in this tournament so far. They have a good mix of youth and experience, which makes them a very competitive unit. It’s going to be a challenging match for us,” the East Bengal coach said on the match-eve.

NorthEast United too are playing well under new Spanish coach Juan Pedro Benali. The key to their success against East Bengal will be adaptability.

Having played their group matches and last-eight clash (against Indian Army) in Guwahati, NorthEast United will find the conditions difficult to deal with. If they manage to sort that out, Benali’s men may give East Bengal a run for their money.

East Bengal will have to keep an eye on the likes of Ibson Melo, Phalguni Singh and Romain Philippoteaux who can punish the hosts if a mistake is committed.

The writer is an intern with The Telegraph

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