Chid Edeh East Bengal
Chidi Edeh will be important to East Bengal's fortunes against Mumbai FC. AIFF
Chidi Edeh will be important to East Bengal's fortunes against Mumbai FC. AIFF
Chidi Edeh will be important to East Bengal's fortunes against Mumbai FC. AIFF

After the highs of the Kolkata Derby win over Mohun Bagan in the I-League, East Bengal were forced to sober down a bit by United SC in a 1-1 draw.

Now Armando Colaco and his side will look to march up the table yet again with a visit to struggling Mumbai FC at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune.

Mumbai FC have found it difficult to pick up any kind of momentum at home this season, unable to fashion a single win in eight attempts. Those eight games at the Balewadi has seen Mumbai draw five and lose three, the kind of run which sees them languishing third from bottom with eight points from a total of ten matches.

Khalid Jameel's men have one more home encounter waiting on Saturday, against Pune FC, before a spate of away fixtures. So, six points from the next two home matches will be necessary if they are to stay away from the relegation zone come the end of the season.

East Bengal are only two places above Mumbai, but have only played seven games this season. No doubt the win over Bagan would have given them a huge lift, even if it was quickly tempered by the 1-1 draw against United SC.

Colaco sees no reason why this East Bengal side, with the big squad at their disposal, cannot go all the way to the top of the table and lift the I-League title.

"It is an I-League for East Bengal to lose," Colaco said. "The players I have are all class. I came to East Bengal because I know the players and I believe in their capabilities. But the fitness level is such that you can't do anything, especially with matches on every alternate day.

"The gap we had is for Federation Cup and IFA Shield. Now everybody should understand, what do we want. That's why I said after winning the I-League, we should concentrate in the AFC Cup. This is a fact. The IFA Shield East Bengal has won. So, give a break and get ready for the I-League."

Colaco, though, has not been too impressed with some of the players' fitness, with skipper Mehtab Hossain ruled out of Monday's game, while Saumik Dey and Harmanjot Khabra are major doubts.

"Right from the beginning they have not been match fit. Probably they didn't do the preseason conditioning properly, which is why they tend to get injured," Colaco said. No one is indispensable in this team. If Mehtab is not there, we have people like [Cavin] Lobo and Khabra who can deliver. I'm quite confident."

Where to Watch Live

The game is scheduled for a 6pm IST start with live coverage on Ten Action. There is no official Live Streaming option available in India.

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