East Bengal vs Goa: Preview and Prediction
Two teams occupying the last two spots of the 2021-22 Indian Super League standings, East Bengal and Goa will clash in ‘Match 21’ of the competition at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Tuesday in hopes of winning their first match of the campaign.
Goa is currently placed at the very bottom of the pile with East Bengal stationed just above them. Juan Ferrando’s team has had a nightmarish start to their new campaign losing all of their first three matches while the Red and Golds have not been much better either as they have drawn 2 matches and lost the other two matches so far.
How have they done so far?
East Bengal had a decent start to their second campaign in this competition, as despite being the last team to start their pre-season preparations, they managed to restrict Jamshedpur to a 1-1 draw in their season opener.
However, up against a more formidable side in ATK Mohun Bagan, their weaknesses were exposed mercilessly as Antonio Lopez Habas’ men walked away with a vehement 3-0 win. After a 6-4 drubbing in their third game at the hands of Odisha, the Torchbearers showed more resilience and commitment to get a 0-0 draw against Chennaiyin.
Goa lost only three matches in the last season of ISL but has taken only about a couple of weeks to match that tally up this season. Ferrando’s men lost 3-0 in their first match against reigning champions Mumbai City where a former Gaur in Igor Angulo racked up a brace.
The performance was equally awful in the second game against Jamshedpur where they suffered a 3-1 defeat to Owen Coyle’s men. Having failed to turn up in the first couple of encounters, the Gaurs were much more organized in their previous outing against NorthEast United and would have secured a 1-1 stalemate, had it not been for Khassa Camara’s 93rd-minute strike helping the Highlanders secure their first win of the season.
Head to Head Record
These two teams have crossed paths twice in this competition with both matches ending in 1-1 draws. In the first meeting, Bright Enobakhare handed East Bengal the lead but a late Devendra Murgaonkar strike prevented what would have been East Bengal’s second consecutive win. In the return leg, Goa scored first via Angulo, and former skipper Daniel Fox had to rescue a point for the erstwhile Robbie Fowler-led team.
Manolo Diaz made a plethora of changes for the Chennaiyin game and most of them paid dividends. Daniel Gomes did not have a great time at right-back dealing with the speedy and skillful Lallianzuala Chhangte while Joyner Lourenco was not as convincing as some of his compatriots in the backline.
The duo was substituted at half-time and might have to watch the next game from the bench, with Raju Gaikwad likely to slot in at right-back while Adil Khan is the perfect candidate to pair up with Tomislav Mrcela in central defense.
The scoreline might not reflect it, but Goa had a few impressive performers in the 2-1 defeat against the Highlanders. Australian central defender Dylan Fox looked solid at the back in his debut for the Gaurs while Princeton Rebello was a livewire in the No.8 role.
Those two are certain to retain their place in the starting XI, but owing to an underwhelming show against Khalid Jamil’s boys, Nongdomba Naorem might have to make way for Devendra Murgaonkar, if Ferrando switches to a traditional 4-4-2 setup to bag some points.
Predicted Starting Lineups
Goa (4-4-2): Dheeraj Singh; Seriton Fernandes, Dylan Fox, Ivan Gonzalez, Sanson Pereira; Alexander Romario Jesuraj, Glan Martins, Princeton Rebello, Jorge Ortiz; Devendra Murgaonkar, Airam Cabrera.
SC East Bengal (4-4-1-1): Suvam Sen; Raju Gaikwad, Tomislav Mrcela, Adil Khan, Hira Mondal; Mohammad Rafique, Amarjit Singh Kiyam, Amir Dervisevic, Naorem Mahesh; Darren Sidoel; Daniel Chima Chukwu.
There is hardly anything to separate these two teams on the basis of current form or past head-to-head records. Both the Gaurs and the Red and Golds have a few players of supreme pedigree who can turn the game around with their individual brilliance, but as a team, they have lacked combination and synchronization. Hence, we have predicted a cagey 1-1 draw for this match.