East Bengal vs Hyderabad: Preview and Prediction
East Bengal has not got going at all this season, and currently, their chances of making it to the top six look slim. The Torchbearers have won only four of their first 13 matches, and with only 12 points in their account, they are placed ninth in the standings.
On the other hand, Hyderabad is among the most consistent teams in the competition. The defending champions have won 10 of their first 12 matches, with only Mumbai City winning more games. The Nizams have accumulated 32 points and are placed second in the points table.
East Bengal had a poor start to their season, as they lost four of their first five matches – against Kerala Blasters, Goa, ATK Mohun Bagan, and Chennaiyin. The only exception was a win against NorthEast United.
That run was followed by a slightly better phase as Stephen Constantine’s men won two of their next three matches, beating Bengaluru and Jamshedpur to achieve so. However, they will come into this match on the back of four losses in five games, which have come against Hyderabad, Mumbai City, Odisha and Jamshedpur.
Hyderabad was held to a 3-3 draw in their first match by Mumbai City, but they bounced back in phenomenal fashion by winning all of their next five matches – against NorthEast United, Bengaluru, Goa, Odisha, and Jamshedpur.
Manolo Marquez Roca’s men were then surprisingly derailed for the first time in the season, as they lost back-to-back matches against Kerala Blasters and ATK Mohun Bagan. However, they then won their next five matches – against Chennaiyin, East Bengal, Bengaluru, NorthEast United, and Goa, before drawing their last fixture against Chennaiyin.
Head to Head Record
The head-to-head records are completely inclined in favour of Hyderabad. The Nizams have won three of the five league meetings against East Bengal, while the other two matches ended in draws – meaning the Torchbearers have never emerged victorious in this particular fixture.
In the last meeting, which took place in December, the Nizams secured a 2-0 win. Mohammad Yasir scored the opener for Roca’s team before Javi Siverio scored the insurance goal very late into the game.
After a disappointing 1-2 defeat against Jamshedpur in the last fixture, it seems certain that Constantine will make changes to his starting XI. In defense, Ankit Mukherjee had a hard time keeping Ritwik Das quiet, and in his place, Sarthak Golui could return as a right-back. Subsequently, Jerry Lalrinzuala could slot in the vacant left-back position.
In attack, Alex Lima hardly made any impression against his former team and he might have to make way for Thongkhosiem Haokip. This will free up an overseas slot, which the English tactician can use by replacing Mobashir Rahman with Jordan O’Doherty. Besides that, goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh could return in place of Suvam Sen, who has had two ordinary performances on the trot.
A draw against Chennaiyin was not on the cards, and hence, Roca is also expected to make changes to his team. Vincy Barretto gave Nikhil Poojary a tough time down the right flank for the Nizams, which might see Reagan Singh restoring his place in the starting XI.
In midfield, Hitesh Sharma could barely have any influence and was later replaced by Sahil Tavora. We could see the latter starting from the front in this match, while there is likely to be an attacking change as well. After a poor outing, Rohit Danu could be replaced by Abdul Rabeeh.
East Bengal (4-4-2): Kamaljit Singh; Sarthak Golui, Ivan Gonzalez, Lalchungnunga, Jerry Lalrinzuala; VP Suhair, Charalampos Kyriakou, Jordan O’Doherty, Naorem Mahesh Singh; Cleiton Silva, Thongkhosiem Haokip.
Hyderabad (4-2-3-1): Gurmeet Singh; Reagan Singh, Nim Dorjee Tamang, Odei Onaindia, Akash Mishra; Sahil Tavora, Borja Herrera; Mohammad Yasir, Bartholomew Ogbeche, Abdul Rabeeh; Javi Siverio.
Hyderabad is miles ahead of East Bengal in every single aspect – personnel, tactical prowess, form, and morale in the camp. Hence, we have predicted the Nizams to walk away with three points from Kolkata.