Quess East Bengal FC are going to fight it out against Gokulam Kerala FC in the first semi-final of the ongoing Durand Cup 2019 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. The Red and Gold brigade who won all the group fixtures will be riding high on confidence whereas the Kerala-based football club are also on a winning spree in the tournament.
Preview, Prediction and Schedule
Quess East Bengal had a good start to their Durand Cup campaign winning the first two matches without even conceding a goal. They comfortably defeated Army Red in their first fixture of the tournament followed by a 6-0 drubbing of Jamshedpur FC. Alejandro Menendez's men faced a minor hiccup in their third and final fixture against Bengaluru FC.
A young and fast Bengaluru side were running all over the park in the first half of the match. Ajay Chettri drew first blood slotting one home past QEB goalkeeper Lalthuammawia Ralte to make it 1-0 for the Bangalore-based side.
The Red and Gold brigade's gameplay was pretty much predictable in the first-half as they were not able to break the Bangaluru FC's defence.
But in the second-half Menendez's match-reading and brilliant tactical decisions came into play as he decided to counter pace with pace and substituted Boithang Haokip to bring in East Bengal academy product Bidyashagar Singh who has been in prolific form in the tournament.
The results were visible as QEB started knocking at the door for the equaliser at regular intervals. They finally got the much-awaited breakthrough in the 59th minute as Singh scored his fourth goal of the tournament.
The 21-year-old footballer finally took the Red and Gold brigade home as he added another goal on the 74th-minute mark.
Although their attack got back their form in the second half, their defence was getting easily beaten by the Bengaluru colts. The former Real Madrid Castilla coach needs to work on the defence line for the semi-final clash against Gokulam Kerala FC.
On the other hand, Gokulam have been in impressive form throughout the tournament. They have managed to score 11 goals and conceded only one in the group stages and will be looking forward to carrying their good form in the semi-final fixture.
The Malabarian's striker Trinidian Marcus Joseph has been in scintillating form in the tournament as has scored eight goals which include two hat-tricks in their last two fixtures.
Their squad will be strengthened with the inclusion of former Chennaiyin FC midfielder Bruno Pelisarri who is set to take the field after becoming match fit. They will start the match on a high and will look forward to continuing their onslaught against QEB.
The Kolkata giants will have the home support on their side as the match is going to be played in the City of Joy. With the passionate QEB fans backing them, they will definitely enjoy the home advantage against Gokulam. But as both the teams have performed equally well in the tournament, it will be a riveting encounter to watch. QEB can probably win the match by the margin of a lone goal.
The Quess East Bengal-Gokulam Kerala FC match will start at 3 PM IST on August 21.
TV listings, Live Streaming and how to watch in India
The match will be telecasted on Star Sports 3, Star Sports 1 Bangla and for online live streaming, viewers can use Hotstar.