East Bengal vs Gokulam Kerala: Preview and Prediction

Gokulam Kerala topped Group C with six points

In the second quarter-final of the 2023 Durand Cup, East Bengal will be locking horns against Gokulam Kerala at the Salt Lake Stadium on Friday. 

The Red and Yellow Brigade topped Group A leaving behind the likes of other ISL clubs such as Mohun Bagan SG and Punjab. 

On the other hand, the I-League outfit also managed to secure the top spot in Group C, despite the challenges presented by Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru. Hence, the clash between the two table toppers will be a worthy watch. 

Current Form

East Bengal commenced their 2023 Durand Cup campaign against the Bangladesh Army at the Salt Lake Stadium. Playing on the home ground, Saul Crespo scored the first goal of the match with a penalty kick and Javier Siverio doubled the Red and Yellow Brigade’s lead with the help of a brilliant cross before the half-time whistle. However, the Bangladesh Army managed to equalize the match in the last few minutes against a 10-men East Bengal after Nishu Kumar was sent off as the match ended 2-2.

In the next match, East Bengal squared off against their arch-rival Mohun Bagan SC. Interestingly, the Red and Yellow Brigade defeated the Mariners for the first time in the much-anticipated Kolkata Derby in 1666 days. Nandhakumar Sekar’s goal in the 60th minute was the deciding factor of the fixture.

In their last match of the group stage, the Red and Yellow Brigade faced the new Indian Super League admission, Punjab at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan Stadium. Consequently, scoring just one goal, like in their last match against Mohun Bagan SC, East Bengal recorded another close 1-0 victory with Javi Siviero being the only goalscorer. As a result of the victory, they topped Group A with seven points. 

On the other hand, Gokulam Kerala met the Indian Air Force in their opening game. The I-League side got a positive start against the Indian Armed Forces as they picked up a 2-0 win supported by the goals of Sreekuttan V.S. and Sourav K at the Kishore Bharati Stadium. 

After getting a winning start, Gokulam Kerala kept the same momentum going as they defeated the ISL club and their arch-rivals, Kerala Blasters in the Kerala Derby. After the first half, the Malabarians were leading the match 3-1 and they managed to maintain the lead until the final whistle (4-3) and secured three points.

After positively sailing through the likes of the Indian Air Force and Kerala Blasters with wins, the Malabarians crossed paths with the champions Bengaluru. Gokulam suffered a major 2-0 blow against the Blue Colts in their last group-stage match topping their group with six points. 

Head to Head Record

Gokulam Kerala and East Bengal were part of the I-League until September 2020, when the Red and Yellow Brigade shifted to the Indian Super League. Consequently, the two sides have squared off against each other a total of six times. East Bengal has grasped three victories while Gokulam won two matches and one of their fixtures ended as a draw. 

Gokulam Kerala and East Bengal locked horns against each other for the last time in the 2020 I-League at EMS Stadium, Kozhikode. The Malabarians took an early lead in the match with a goal from Marcus Joseph. The score was later equalized by Victor Perez in the 24th minute. A few chances were later created in the fixture but none of them resulted in a goal and the match ended up 1-1 with a point each shared by the sides. 

Team News 

East Bengal topped Group A with seven points

East Bengal were active in the pre-season transfer window as they added a bunch of fresh legs as well as big names to their team. Players such as Prabhsukhan Gill, Saul Crespo, Nandhakumar Sekar, Javier Siverio, and more, who were signed by the Red and Yellow Brigade in the last few months, have been clinical for their improved performance in the 2023 Durand Cup.

Fortunately, no injuries or suspensions have been reported by the Indian Super League outfit ahead of their crucial quarter-final fixture against Gokulam Kerala. Hence, Carles Cuadrat’s men will look forward to grasping a comfortable win over the Malabarians. 

Similarly, all the players of Gokulam Kerala are also fit and healthy. In addition to that, one football player has been suspended from the Malabarians’ team list, hence, they’ll possibly face East Bengal with an unchanged starting XI. 

Predicted XIs 

East Bengal: Prabhsukhan Gill, Nishu Kumar, Lalchungnunga, Gursimrat Gill, Mandar Rao Dessai, Harmanjot Khabra ©, Saul Crespo, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Vanlalpeka Guite, Nandhakumar Sekar, Javier Siverio

Gokulam Kerala: Tmawia, Sourav K, Vikas Saini, Sreekuttan VS, Francisco Perdomo Borges, Aminou Bouba, Zothanmawia, Shijin T, Basit Ahmed Bhat, Alejandro Sanchez ©, Abhijith K


Both sides have shown great resistance in the early stage of the Durand Cup by being the leaders of their respective groups. However, every match becomes even more important when it comes to the knockout stage. 

East Bengal is currently unbeaten in their Durand Cup campaign and the win over Mohun Bagan SG has surely resulted in a confidence boost for the Red and Yellow Brigade. On the other hand, Gokulam Kerala just suffered a throbbing defeat against defending defending champions Bengaluru, which is expected to have an impact on the Malabarians.