East Bengal vs NorthEast United: Preview and Prediction

East Bengal won the reverse leg 3-1

The third fixture of matchday 19 of the 2022-23 Indian Super League season will see two struggling sides, East Bengal and NorthEast United locking swords at Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium on Wednesday.

East Bengal improved from their horrendous performance last season, but they still are a mile off from becoming a candidate for the top six. With five wins from 16 matches and 15 points in their account, the Torchbearers are placed 9th in the standings.

On the other hand, NorthEast United will look to forget about this season as soon as they can and start with a clean slate for the upcoming edition. With just one win in 17 matches and 4 points, the Highlanders are placed at the very bottom of the points table.

Current Form

East Bengal has been consistently underwhelming from the beginning, as they started their campaign with four wins in five matches – against Kerala Blasters, Goa, ATK Mohun Bagan, and Chennaiyin. Over the next three matches, they managed to win some fans back with hard-fought wins over Bengaluru and Jamshedpur.

Defeats against Hyderabad and Mumbai City pegged Stephen Constantine’s team back yet again, and while a win against Bengaluru gave them a glimmer of hope, all of that was lost when they lost back-to-back matches against Odisha, Jamshedpur, Hyderabad, and Goa. While they did manage to beat Kerala Blasters in the last match, it is perhaps too little too late.

Explaining NorthEast United’s season so far will be an easy job, for they have lost 15 of the 17 matches they have played so far. The Highlanders started their season with ten consecutive defeats, losing once each against every opponent in the tournament.

The run finally ended when they handed ATK Mohun Bagan a 1-0 defeat in their 11th game, but it was followed by back-to-back defeats against Hyderabad and NorthEast United. While Vincenzo Alberto Annese’s men did well to draw 2-2 against Goa, they will come into this game on the back of consecutive defeats against Mumbai City and Kerala Blasters.

Head to Head Record

The head-to-head records are inclined in favour of NorthEast United. The Highlanders have won three of the previous five league meetings against East Bengal, while the Torchbearers have won only one game. The only other fixture ended in a draw.

However, the first meeting of this season ended in a 3-1 win for East Bengal. Cleiton Silva, Charalampos Kyriakou and Jordan O’Doherty were on the scoresheet for Constantine’s men, while for NorthEast United, Matt Derbyshire was the lone goal-scorer.

Team News

Though his team won the last match against Kerala Blasters, Constantine will be forced to make changes to his starting XI. Mobashir Rahman will be unavailable for selection after being handed marching orders, and in his place, Jordan O’Doherty could be re-introduced into the team.

But in that case, the English tactician will have to balance the overseas count by dropping Kyriakou for Lalchungnunga, who will be available for selection again after serving his one-game suspension. Besides that, Ankit Mukherjee is unlikely to start after throwing his jersey in a fit of rage against the Tuskers, and Mohamad Rakip could start in his place.

Similarly, Annese is also likely to make changes to his team after a disappointing 0-2 defeat against Jamshedpur. In defense, Gurjinder Kumar had a tough time dealing against the speedy Boris Singh Thangjam, and he could make way for Tondonba Singh.

Besides that, the Highlanders’ midfield also looked out of ideas as both Mohamed Irshad and Pragyan Gogoi could hardly come to their team’s rescue. They could be replaced by Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha and Imran Khan respectively.

Predicted XIs

East Bengal (4-4-2): Kamaljit Singh; Mohamad Rakip, Sarthak Golui, Lalchungnunga, Jerry Lalrinzuala; VP Suhair, Alex Lima, Jordan O’Doherty, Naorem Mahesh Singh; Jake Jervis, Cleiton Silva.

NorthEast United (4-3-3): Arindam Bhattacharja; Alex Saji, Mashoor Shereef, Aaron Evans, Tondonba Singh; Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha, Joseba Beitia, Imran Khan; Romain Philippoteaux, Parthib Gogoi, Kule Mbombo.


Though NorthEast United holds the edge on head-to-head records, their morale will be down after back-to-back defeats, whereas East Bengal will be a team with renewed enthusiasm after their win against Kerala Blasters. Hence, we have predicted the Torchbearers to win this match.