East Bengal will look to break their run of two defeats in a row when they host defending champions Minerva Punjab at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday.
|Game||East Bengal vs Minerva Punjab|
|Date||Tuesday, December 4|
|Time||5:00 PM IST (GMT +5:30)|
TV CHANNELS & LIVE STREAM
The Star Sports Network have the exclusive broadcasting rights of the I-League. The games will be telecast on television as well as digital platforms.
|India (English) TV channel||Online streams|
|Star Sports 3||Hotstar and Jio TV|
Key Players: Enrique Esqueda, Borja Gomez, Johnny Acosta
Key Players: Lancine Toure, William Opoku, Philip Njoku.
After losing back-to-back matches against Chennai City FC and Aizawl FC, an under pressure East Bengal side host reigning champions Minerva Punjab in a crucial I-League fixture on Tuesday.
The Kolkata side kicked-off their league campaign on a bright note by winning two away games at Imphal and Shillong. But they stumbled against league leaders Chennai in their third match. Thereafter, they were also beaten by Aizawl FC away from home. In fact, the north-eastern side came back from a goal down to beat the Red and Gold 3-2.
The two defeats have sent East Bengal down to the eighth position in the league table with six points from four matches which makes the clash against Minerva a must-win encounter.
East Bengal's midfield is vulnerable as coach Alejandro Menendez opted to field right-back Kamalpreet Singh in the defensive midfield role. Kassim Aidara, who joined the Kolkata club this year after winning the title with Minerva, hasn't won the coach’s trust which is evident from the fact that he hasn't started in any of the four matches. But the Spanish coach is likely to change his stance and bring Aidara back to the starting XI against his former club.
Menendez had rotated the goalkeepers with Ubaid CK satrting ahead of Rakshit Dagar. But the former Minerva custodian Dagar is likely to come back in the starting lineup.
Minerva were off to a poor start to their title-defense this season. They collected just a point from their first two fixtures but slowly gained momentum as the league progressed.
The champions are coming on the back of a 1-0 win over Indian Arrows. They are currently at the sixth position on the league table with eight points from six matches.
The Sukhdev Singh transfer saga earlier this season has certainly spiked the tension between the two sides. The Kolkata club had received a transfer ban over their approach to sign Sukhdev Singh.
An exciting match is on the cards when these two sides lock horns at the Salt Lake Stadium. East Bengal will look to get back to winning ways and climb up the league table while the champions want to make a strong statement in the backyard of the Red and Golds. An intriguing affair awaits fans on Tuesday evening.