Still winless after five matches, laggards SC East Bengal and Kerala Blasters would look to secure their maiden win of the ongoing Indian Super League season when they face each other at the GMC Stadium on Sunday.
While East Bengal are at the bottom of the 11-team standings with just one point, Kerala Blasters are no better as they occupy the ninth spot with two draws.
Both teams have conceded 10 goals in their five matches. While their respective defences seem to be vulnerable, their misfiring forwardline is another huge concern.
Kerala have had the lowest shots in the league (39) while the Kolkata side are second-lowest with 48.
Despite having good starts in games, both the sides have failed to keep the momentum going and dropped points from promising positions.
Eight of the 10 goals that both the sides have conceded have come after the break, highlighting their second-half struggles.
“Every match is a new challenge. We are in a similar situation. Both teams want to get three points. We are training well and trying to prepare for the match in the very best possible way. Hopefully, we can play a good game tomorrow,” said Kerala coach Kibu Vicuna.
“Sometimes we have good results, sometimes we don’t. Something doesn’t happen because another team is playing and they also have a plan,” he added.
Like Kerala, East Bengal too have a similar philosophy of maintaining possession and building play from the back. But despite dominating possession, the Kolkata-based team has been struggling to create chances.
Kerala have created the least chances in the league (31) while East Bengal are just above them (36).
They may have picked only one point so far but East Bengal coach Robbie Fowler is confident in his side''s abilities and wants them to concentrate better.
So far, East Bengal have only scored two goals, through Jack Maghouma, which came in their previous game against Hyderabad FC.
And the Kolkata giants will be hoping to add to their tally, given Kerala’s defensive woes—they have managed to register just one clean sheet so far.
“What we want to do is have control of the game, of the ball and win games,” said Fowler.
“The concentration level needs to be a little bit better, formations for me doesn’t really matter. We have gone out there with the belief that we can win games. We have shown a lot of glimpses we can compete.
“There have been certain incidents which may have gone against us at times but there’s nothing between us and the other teams,” the Englishman added.