John Johnson Bengaluru FC
Bengaluru FC defender John Johnson celebrates with teammates after scoring against Mohammedan Sporting in the I-League, October 10AIFF

After suffering a big defeat at the hands of Kuwait FC in the AFC Cup semifinals, East Bengal will be keen to bounce back and show their prowess in the I-League on Saturday.

However, it will be far from easy as the Kolkata giants take on league leaders Bengaluru FC, who have been in a rich vein of form from the start of the season.

East Bengal did really well to even reach the semis of the AFC Cup, and Brazilian coach Marcos Falopa admitted they had lost to a superior side on Tuesday.

"Overall, we have to admit that Kuwait SC are a far superior team both in terms of quality and resources. We congratulate them," Falopa said.

"On behalf of the players, I would like to say sorry to our fans but it is important to remember that the level of our opponents was much higher than the teams we faced earlier in the competition.

"There is a long season ahead so we must improve on certain areas and look to come back strongly."

That level will come down considerably with East Bengal turning their attentions back to the I-League, where they have only played two games all season.

Bengaluru FC, though, have given a really good account of themselves in the opening games of the season, and deservedly sit at the top of the table with 13 points from five matches, with four wins and a draw.

However, all of those matches have been at home, and the newly-minted side will face their real test when they travel to Kolkata to take on one of Indian football's giants at the Salt Lake Stadium.

"We haven't played away from home as yet and that will be our real test," Bengaluru FC coach Ashley Westwood said. "We know that in any league, it's only after 10 games that you get a true reflection of the table and we've played only five.

"We are not getting carried away with ourselves. We're only going to keep working hard and see where it takes us.

"We will take East Bengal on merit and see what we can get out of the trip."

Where to watch

The game is scheduled for a 2.30 p.m. IST start with live telecast on Ten Action.

Expected lineups: East Bengal: Abhijit Mondal, Arnab Mondal, Okpara, Abhishek Das, Saumik Dey, Mehtab, Ralte, Lobo, Abranches, Moga, Chidi.

Bengaluru FC: Kumar, Osano, Johnson, Anto, Pereira, Caldera, Hangal, Menyongar, Beingaichho, Chhetri, Rooney.

Prediction: 2-1 to East Bengal