East Bengal v Bengaluru: Preview and Prediction

unnamed   2024 04 08T200621.772
Saul Crespo has been one of East Bengal’s most impactful signings this season

The battle for the sixth playoff spot will intensify as East Bengal takes on Bengaluru in the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Kirirangan in Kolkata on Matchday 21 of the Indian Super League. The teams, who are both chasing Chennaiyin who are currently in sixth after their win over Jamshedpur, will take on each other on Sunday from 7:30 PM IST. 

The home team comes into the fixture with momentum on their side, following a clutch performance in Kochi. They are currently 8th on the table with 21 points from 20 games and a win would see them go level with Chennaiyin, having played a game more. 

Bengaluru comes into this colossal clash having dropped points in their last two matches, which has led them to surrender the sixth position to southern rivals Chennaiyin. Gerard Zaragoza’s side is just above East Bengal in the league at 7th, with 22 points from 20 games and there is no room for error anymore.

Current Form

East Bengal played out a modern league classic as they defeated Kerala Blasters 4-2 away from home in their last league fixture. Both Saul Crespo and Naorem Mahesh bagged a brace in Kochi as they came from 1-0 down to turn things around in style and firmly put them back into the race for the playoffs as well as handed them their first away win at Kochi.

The concern for head coach Carles Cuadrat is undoubtedly the fact that East Bengal have conceded 24 times this season, and have a goal difference of exactly zero. He will also be hoping that the East Bengal captain Cleiton Silva finds his rhythm again, as the Brazilian has the most shots on target per match for the Torchbearers (1.1) but last found the back of the net against Hyderabad on 11th February.

On the other hand, Bengaluru comes into the game having drawn 0-0 with Odisha in their last fixture. Gurpreet and midfielder Javi Hernandez played a key role in upsetting the odds that night as they held the Shield aspirants back and kept a clean sheet.

The major headache for the Blues has been their inconsistent form away from home exemplified by the fact that they haven’t won an away game in their last 12 clashes. Their defensive lapses have also been notable, with goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu ranking 2nd in the league for saves per match (3.3) and having conceded 28 goals thus far.

Head to Head Record

The two sides have faced each other 7 times, with both also having only 3 wins to their names so far. 

In the reverse fixture, Sunil Chhetri and Javi Hernandez were on the money for Bengaluru as they registered a 2-1 win over East Bengal. Naorem Mahesh came away with a solitary goal for the Red and Gold brigade that night.

Team News

Suresh Singh will be available for Bengaluru after serving his suspension

For East Bengal, goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill will have to be wary as he has picked up 3 yellow cards and could be suspended if he gets one more booking on Sunday. Apart from this, no major injuries currently plague the Torchbearers and they would be keen to stitch together another win with youngsters Aman CK and Vishnu PV especially impressing against the Blasters.

For Bengaluru, Chinglensana Singh will miss out as he has accumulated 4 yellow cards so far. Suresh Singh and Aleksandar Jovanovic will be available for selection again while Shankar Sampingiraj, Shivaldo Singh, and Javi Hernandez are all on 3 cards and need to be on the lookout against picking up another booking.

Predicted Starting XIs

East Bengal (4-2-3-1): Prabhsukhan Singh Gill; Mohamad Rakip, Aleksandar Pantić, Hijazi Maher, Nishu Kumar; Souvik Chakrabarti, Saúl Crespo; Vishnu PV, Cleiton Silva, Sayan Banerjee; Naorem Mahesh Singh

Bengaluru (4-2-3-1): Gurpreet Singh Sandhu; Nikhil Poojary, Shankar Sampingiraj, Aleksandar Jovanovic, Naorem Roshan Singh; Keziah Veendorp, Suresh Singh; Sivasakthi Narayanan, Javi Hernández, Ryan Williams; Sunil Chhetri.


With such high stakes on the line, it is indeed difficult to predict who will emerge triumphant in this clash. Sunil Chhetri’s off-form, underlined by the fact that he has scored only 1 goal from open play for club and country in 2024 could as well come to an end if he decides to take the game by the scruff of its neck. 

On the other hand, Naorem Mahesh Singh could carry on his impeccable form and hand East Bengal a brilliant win as well. It truly could be anyone’s game and as a viewer, that’s the kind of action one wants to witness in Indian football.