NorthEast are back in their home to face East Bengal in a bottom two clash of the 2022/23 ISL season.
The Highlanders took a 3-0 hammering from holders Hyderabad FC in the previous game while East Bengal conceded defeat once again this time to FC Goa by 2-1.
NUFC vs EB Match Details
Date: Thursday, 20 October 2022
Time: 19:30 (IST)
Venue: Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati
NUFC vs EB Match Preview
Any thought of upsetting the champions on home turf evaporated when Bartholomew Ogbeche side- footed an easy finish from Yasir’s free-kick to give Hyderabad FC the lead in 13th minute. Goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya made some vital saves and saved a penalty from the Nigerian striker in the resulting period but in the second half his pass to center-back Gaurav Bora was intercepted by Holicharan Narzary to slot past him and double the lead for the away side. Just two minutes after coming onto the pitch, Borja Herrera finished the scoring in the 73rd minute to much dismay of the home side. NorthEast United were also hard done by in the first game of the season where a late equalizer in the 1-0 defeat to Bengaluru FC was controversially ruled out by the officials. Two defeats to begin the 2022/23 ISL season has left them bottom of the standings with four conceded and none scored. Fixtures from here also don’t favor them much to turn their form around. After facing fellow strugglers East Bengal, the Highlanders have to battle it out last season’s top five teams in the next four games in a row. Most of them have started the season on a decent note which will pile up the pressure on manager Marco Balbul. NorthEast United will battle out a second-placed East Bengal team, before their crunching calendar, wounded by their losing start to their new season but have players that can shine on occasions like this. The coach himself has praised the attack of the opposition although he will be eyeing the potential weakness in their defense to be exploited. Their unbeaten record in this meeting speaks for itself with three wins in four overall. Balbul’s side will be desperate to maintain the streak against the Red and Gold in the first meeting at home in ISL turning to their trusted midfield pair of Jon Gaztanaga and Romain Philippoteaux to make the difference. A win in this bottom two clash will be ideal for NorthEast to prepare for the tough set of games ahead.
At the moment East Bengal thought they have rescued a crucial point against FC Goa in front of the home support for the first time in ISL, the Gaur’s talisman Edu Bedia unleashed one of his mastery free-kicks to score the winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time deceiving keeper Kamaljit Singh with an awkward bounce in front of him from a long way out. Club captain for the season, Brandon Fernandes scored the opening goal of the match inside seven minutes only for Cleiton Silva to restore parity in the match from the spot kick which meant little at the end. Courtesy of that goal, East Bengal are not placed at the bottom after two games played but a place where they ended last season. After a major squad overhaul before the campaign with a new investor in place and an experienced manager in Stephen Constantine at the helm, this sort of start was not expected. East Bengal found themselves in the same alley of recruiting the squad late because of off-field issues with little time to create a bond between players. Another underwhelming campaign in ISL will not leave a good picture on the side from Kolkata. The fixtures don’t get easier from here for the Red and Gold as they have to take a trip to the mountainous northeast of the country to face the Highlanders. East Bengal carries a disappointing record in this fixture and although the opposition is placed below them while suffering a heavy loss at home, will be up for the challenge to make it the game difficult for them. On the flip side, Stephen Constantine’s men will use this fixture to obtain a positive result ahead of the massive derby back in their city at the weekend. In the last away trip in the league, East Bengal lost 3-1 to Kerala Blasters in Kochi something they cannot make a habit on travels. Constantine will take the positives from the first two games of the season in trying to hand his side the first win of the campaign.
NUFC vs EB Team News
NorthEast United will be without full-back Provat Lakra due to an injury which kept him from any involvement so far this season. There are no other concerns about Marco Balbul, who will be back in the touchline after his one-match ban, to think about. Some changes are expected from the 3-0 loss to Hyderabad FC with Imran Khan coming into the midfield to add more stability to the side while Romain Philippoteaux could be pushed further in the forward line to influence the game more.
Coach Stephen Constantine clarifies that Aniket Jadav is not banished to the reserve side as a punishment but to offer more game minutes and to improve certain aspects of his play that the coach wants from him. He will remain absent for the game as is striker Eliandro who has aggravated the injury he sustained last week in training. Midfielder Alex Lima needs a late fitness test to confirm his availability for the game. VP Suhair will return to face his former side.
NUFC vs EB Predicted Lineups
NUFC: Arindam Bhattacharya; Mohamed Irshad, Gaurav Bora, Michael Jakobsen, Gurjinder Kumar; Jon Gaztanaga, Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha, Imran Khan; Romain Philippoteaux, Matt Derbyshire, Jithin MS.
EB: Kamaljit Singh; Sarthak Golui, Lalchungnunga, Ivan Gonzalez, Jerry Lalrinzuala; Sumeet Passi, Jordan O’Doherty, Souvik Chakrabarti, Tuhin Das; VP Suhair, Cleiton Silva.
NUFC vs EB Dream11 Team Prediction
GK: Kamaljit (8)
DEF: Sarthak (8), Gonzalez (8.5), Jakobsen (6.5), Jerry (8)
MID: Romain (7.5), I Khan (8), O’Doherty (8.5)
FW: Suhair (7.5), Derbyshire (7), C Silva (9)
Vice-captain: Romain Philippoteaux
Captain: Cleiton Silva
Stay tuned to Fantasy Football for upcoming matches.