Bengaluru FC will lock horns Sunday with East Bengal at the Kanteerva Stadium in Bengaluru. Both teams are vying for the top spot in the points table and neither of them can afford to drop points if they want to stay in the hunt for the I-League 2016 title.
East Bengal, who have never won an I-League since its inception, will look forward to better their away record when they take the field against Bengaluru FC. They have managed to win just two out of the six away games they have played so far this season.
Biswajit Bhattacharya's Red-and-Gold brigade could have edged past Bengaluru FC and occupied the second spot in the points table if they had defeated Mumbai FC in their last match. That would have increased a lot of pressure on table-toppers Mohun Bagan, who are on 27 points from 15 matches.
Both East Bengal and Bengaluru FC have played a couple of matches less than Mohun Bagan. Sunday's encounter is a really good opportunity for both teams to move right to the top of the table.
"It is not vital to win to be quite honest. Looking at the table, we need to win two and draw one game. We are two points in front. We can't afford to lose. We will go out and try to win. We are going to try and back it up with a good performance," Bengaluru FC coach Ashley Westwood was quoted as saying by IANS.
East Bengal lost their only game at home against Bengaluru FC, courtesy a solitary goal from star-strker Sunil Chhetri. East Bengal coach Biswajit Bhattacharya will want his team to turn the wheel of fortune in their favour and put up a spirited show against Westwood's Blues.
"Football is a surprising game. You win and sometimes you lose. In the first leg of the season, there was a point when we were seven points behind the league leaders. But when we finished the first leg we were just a point behind them," Bhattacharya said.
"We are very much in the title mix. It is very difficult to tell at present weather we will win or lose. But we hope as we believe in our boys. They are very good players and now they are practising very nicely. We hope we will win the match.
"Actually both teams were equally good when we played in Kolkata. However, we missed lots of chances. So we hope our boys are very serious this time."
Bengaluru FC will be missing the services of John Johnson as he is serving a one-match suspension after he saw four yellow cards in the current season of the I-League.
On the other hand, East Bengal will be missing their captain Arnab Mondal, who was suspended for two matches after he was found guilty of abusing Mohun Bagan striker Cornell Glen during the derby earlier this month.
Where to watch live
I-League: Bengaluru FC vs East Bengal is scheduled to kick-off at 7:05 p.m. IST (1:35 p.m. GMT), April 10.
Viewers in India and the rest of the subcontinent can catch the game on Ten 2 (Ten Action).
Online streaming will be available on tensports.com.
Live scores of the match can be found on the I-League twitter handle.