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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 21 May 2024

East Bengal stares at must-win tie in ISL Derby, Mohun Bagan in playoffs

Gaining full points from this 'boro match', as East Bengal head coach Carles Cuadrat said during the game-eve news conference, matters more for the red and gold as only a win will keep their playoffs contention hopes alive. If they lose to Mohun Bagan, Cuadrat’s men’s playoffs hopes will be dashed

Our Bureau Calcutta Published 10.03.24, 10:45 AM
Mohun Bagan Super Giant coach Antonio Lopez Habas on Saturday.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant coach Antonio Lopez Habas on Saturday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh

For both Mohun Bagan Super Giant and Emami East Bengal, a victory is crucial when they meet in the return leg of the ISL Derby at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday.

But gaining full points from this “boro match” (big game), as East Bengal’s Spanish head coach Carles Cuadrat said during the game-eve news conference, matters more for the red and gold as only a win will keep their playoffs contention hopes alive. If they lose to Mohun Bagan, Cuadrat’s men’s playoffs hopes will be dashed.

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Bagan, on the other hand, qualified for the playoffs following Hyderabad FC’s 1-0 win over Chennaiyin FC on Saturday. Bagan will also be able to avail of the services of medio Sahal Abdul Samad.

They are unbeaten in their last five matches, yet coach Antonio Lopez Habas remains cautious. “It’s a Derby, after all. How well we handle pressure will be key,” Habas said.

For East Bengal, splitting points on Sunday, too, won’t quite keep them in a safe zone as their playoffs chances will then be hanging by a thread. However, the return of attacking midfielder Saul Crespo should be some sort of a boost to the side.

Set to be back in action after a month having recovered from a thigh injury, Crespo will certainly add more teeth to East Bengal’s attacks.

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