East Bengal vs Jamshedpur: Preview and Prediction
East Bengal had a forgetful last season where they finished ninth in the points table. Since making their ISL debut in 2020, the Red and Golds have failed to qualify for the playoffs. But, they will be aiming to change their fortunes this time with a new coach in the form of Carles Cuadrat.
With only one draw and six wins, East Bengal finished with 19 points. They endured 13 losses under previous coach Stephen Constantine, the second highest after bottom-placed NorthEast United.
Jamshedpur also had 19 points to their name last season with five wins and four losses. A negative goal difference of 11 also dampened their spirits. Scott Cooper was appointed as the Red Miners’ coach and the former Philippines international coach would be aiming to make the most of his knowledge of Asian conditions to guide his team to a win.
East Bengal turned out to be the surprise package of this year’s Durand Cup as they went all the way up to the finals. They started their campaign with a 2-2 draw against Bangladesh Army before pipping Punjab and Mohun Bagan 1-0 with goals from Nandhakumar Sekar and Javier Siverio sealing the deal respectively.
Carles Cuadrat’s side beat Gokulam Kerala 2-1 in the quarter-finals and even got the better of NorthEast United in the semi-final. The Highlanders were two goals upfront till the 75th minute before Naorem Mahesh Singh and Nandhakumar Sekar took the game to the penalties.
East Bengal came out on top with a 5-3 margin to advance to the finals before going down to Dimitri Petratos’ goal in the 71st minute against Mohun Bagan Super Giants. They recently played a 2-2 draw against I-League side Inter Kashi in a pre-season friendly competition.
Jamshedpur fielded their reserve side in the Durand Cup and failed to advance to the knockout stages of the tournament. They only bagged a 1-0 win over the Indian Navy as they went down 5-0 to Mumbai City and 6-0 to Mohammedan.
The Red Miners began their pre-season preparations with a 2-0 win over Gokulam Kerala as rain-curtailed their match. They later lost 2-1 to Sreenidi Deccan before defeating NorthEast United 1-0. They ended their pre-season tour with a 2-2 draw against the Highlanders again before thrashing Sikkim Akraman SC 10-0.
Head to Head Record
This will be the seventh encounter between Jamshedpur and East Bengal with both sides having two wins each to their name. The other two games ended in a draw.
The two teams squared off against each other last time in January 2023 with the Red Miners coming out on top. Cleiton Silva gave East Bengal the lead early in the game but Harry Sawyer and Ritwik Das scored late in the second half to snatch the win.
East Bengal will take the field without the services of Lalchungnunga as he has been selected to represent India in the Asian Games. Naorem Mahesh Singh’s fitness is also a big concern as he returned injured following his national team duties.
The onus will lie on Cleiton Silva and Javier Siverio to score the goals. If there is no Naorem in the starting XI, then Nandhakumar Sekar will have to bear the responsibility of creating goalscoring opportunities for his side.
Jamshedpur’s Vishal Yadav is in China currently under the tutelage of Igor Stimac. So, Rakshit Dagar will most probably guard the sticks. Len Doungel and Ritwik Das will also be eager to make a good first impression on the new coach.
The Red Miners have four foreign players who will make their ISL debut this season in their ranks. Rei Tachikawa, Alen Stevanovic, Elsinho, and Jeremy Manzorro will come as a surprise package for East Bengal as they have no homework against them.
Predicted Starting XIs
Jamshedpur (4-4-2): Rakshit Dagar; Ricky Lallawmawma, Pratik Chaudhari, Elsinho, Jitendra Singh; Pronay Halder, Rei Tachikawa, Len Doungel, Ritwik Das; Peter Sliskovic, Alen Stevanovic
East Bengal (4-3-3): Kamaljit Singh; Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Jordan Elsey, Jose Antonio Pardo, Nishu Kumar; Edwin Vanspaul, Mobashir Rahman, Souvik Chakrabarti; Nandhakumar Sekar, Cleiton Silva, Javier Siverio
This will be the first encounter of both sides in the ISL, so it is expected to be an even contest. However, the Red and Gold Brigade hold the upper hand because it is a home game and Carles Cuadrat has spent more time with his side than his counterpart.
The Durand Cup final run only fuels their hopes while the non-availability of Lalchungnunga and Naorem Mahesh Singh should not be a major factor. Jamshedpur has a full-fledged squad at their disposal in the outfield but may fall short.