Panchkula, March 2 (IANS) East Bengal would look to get past defending champions Minerva Punjab FC and inch closer to the title when the two sides meet in an I-League encounter at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium, here on Sunday.
A win could propel East Bengal to a title win after Churchill Brothers defeated table toppers Chennai City FC 3-2 on Friday.
For Minerva, what would be critical is to continue with their winning momentum. They would start the match with the psychological advantage after their win against Neroca FC came nearly after three months against Quess East Bengal at the latter’s home ground in Kolkata.
Minerva are currently-placed ninth in the I-League points table with 17 points from as many games.
East Bengal, who have been on the top of their form in 2019 with just one loss against Chennai, would look forward to continue their winning run and try to close the gap for the title run.
A win for the Red & Golds means they will be just one point shy of the table toppers Chennai City FC, taking the championship fight to the final day.
Alejandro Menendez said,” We are more eager to win now. We have the realistic chance to win the championship. This match is very important for us. Our team is playing good this season, is improving everyday. We want to continue with the team and try to win the important match.”
Quess East Bengal are placed second on the Hero I-League points table with 36 points from 18 games. The 2-1 win against Hero I-League debutant Real Kashmir FC helped them keep their hopes for a title winning campaign.
For the defending champions, except the last win against Neroca FC, there’s not much that they can rejoice about. Minerva Punjab FC have scored only 9 goals this season and conceded 15.
Minerva Punjab coach Sachin Badadhe said, “We are pretty confident about tomorrow’s game. We are ready to go for all three points. In the last match, Chennai lost the game and it can be the same condition with East Bengal tomorrow. The training is good and we are hoping for a positive result.”
“All the new players are coming to the team and they are professionals. They gel with the system well. We are trying to put everything in place against East Bengal tomorrow,” Badadhe said.
Having defeated them in their last encounter in Kolkata this season, the defending champions wouldn’t want to let that statistical and mental edge go away, everything, in front of the home crowd.
While Minerva’s defensive line hasn’t been impressive, and with the likes of Esqueda, Santos and Ralte in the attacking lineup for the visitors, it would be interesting to see if the defending champions continue with their winning momentum on Sunday.