Mumbai FC Opponent Watch: East Bengal FC

Mumbai FC entertain the current I-League Leaders East Bengal at Cooperage on Sunday evening in their first home game of the season. East Bengal head into Cooperage in red hot form having romped to the Calcutta Football League title before opening their I-League season with a 3-1 win over Sporting Club de Goa in Goa. Mumbai FC though won’t be too concerned with East Bengal’s form, as they themselves are in the middle of a very good run that sees them occupy top spot in the local league. Khalid Jamil’s men have also lost just once in their last ten I-League encounters and have won the last two at home.

But Mumbai FC’s opponents East Bengal are a much changed side this term, which has put them favorites to win the I-League in many people’s eyes. We take a closer look at East Bengal before we lock horns with the Red and Golds

Current League Position: 1st (3 Points)

Head Coach

Biswajit Bhattacharya took charge of the reigns at East Bengal after Eelco Schattorie left the club at the end of last season. Previously the manager of Chirag United in Kerala, the East Bengal job was huge step-up for Bhattacharya who was initially considered only as a interim manager. But with East Bengal’s success in the Calcutta Football League, Bhattacharya was appointed as the Head Coach for the I-League season.

Bhattacharya was a forward in his time who played for East Bengal and also represented India at the 1984 Asian Games.

Key Players

Ranti Martins, India’s all time leading goal scorer will be the obvious threat to Mumbai FC. The Nigerian scored in East Bengal’s last trip to Cooperage, but couldn’t prevent his side from going down 2-1. Bikash Jairu who also scored against Sporting Club de Goa is in sublime form since appearing for India in the SAFF Cup and Do Dong-Hyon will be key for East Bengal

In defense it will be interesting to see if new signing Bernard Mendy features for East Bengal or not. But even if Mendy doesn’t play, East Bengal will go with Arnab Mondal and Bello Rassaq.

Returning Heroes

The visit of East Bengal will bring back Rahul Bheke to Cooperage. Rahul played for Mumbai FC last season and made twenty appearances for the club and scored a goal in Bengaluru that helped Mumbai FC earn a point against the then defending Champions Bengaluru FC. Sehnaj Singh and Cavin Lobo will also face Mumbai FC having played before for the Yellow Submarines. Sehnaj made just five appearance in a single season at the club while Cavin Lobo spent two years of Mumbai FC before moving to East Bengal in 2012.

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