East Bengal go into their final home game of the current I-League season on Friday, when they take on Sporting Clube de Goa at the Barasat Stadium in West Bengal. The Red and Golds, who were identified as title contenders this season, saw those hopes fade last Sunday.
For another season, the I-League title will be out of the reach of the Kolkata powerhouses, but that shouldn't prevent them from giving their best in front of their home fans in Barasat, just hours away from Kolkata. A lot has happened in the last few days, with Biswajit Bhattacharya resigning from the head coach position to Trevor Morgan getting back in a second stint.
However, the players know that no matter what happens, their full focus should be only on what happens on the pitch. "This Sporting Goa team is not the same whom we faced in the first leg. We have to be cautious but we've no other option but to go all-out for a win, the club assistant coach Sanjoy Majhi was quoted as saying by the I-League website ahead of the match.
East Bengal are on 24 points at the moment, while leaders Bengaluru FC have 29 points. If the Red and Golds win their next two games and BFC lose both their last two matches, there could be a massive change in order. However, that would only be perceived as an extremely unlikely scenario as BFC are just two points away from clinching their second I-League title in three years.
Former Paris St-Germain star Bernard Mendy will miss the game. Apart from him, defender Arnab Mondal remains suspended, while Cavin Lobo, Robert Lalthlamuana and Soumik Dey are also nursing minor injuries.
Sporting Clube de Goa, currently fourth in the table, come into the game on the back of an impressive 5-2 victory over Shillong Lajong in their last I-League fixture. Indian youngster Sumeet Passi scored a brace in the game in the absence of Odafa Okolie.
This time however, Odafa is back from injury and it remains to be seen if Sporting Goa coach Mateus Costa prefers Passi over the experienced Nigerian striker.
Previous encounter this season: Sporting Goa 1-3 East Bengal
Where to watch live
I-League: East Bengal vs Sporting Clube de Goa is scheduled to kick-off at 7:05 p.m. IST (1:35 p.m. GMT), April 15.
Viewers in India and the rest of the subcontinent can catch the game on Ten 1 (Ten Sports).
Online streaming will be available on tensports.com.
Live scores of the match can be found on the I-League twitter handle.