ISL: NorthEast United tries to keep East Bengal down | Football News

KOLKATA: NorthEast United remain winless in their last eight Indian Super League (ISL) matches and will face resurgent East Bengal when the two teams meet at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Saturday to open the double-header.

NEUFC are at eighth place in the table with 13 points from 13 games, while East Bengal have one point less from 11 games. Both have only won two games so far. NorthEast is one of the many contenders for the sixth playoff spot and is just one point behind Bengaluru FC (14), who have also played a game more (14) than NEUFC.

Although the visitors are one step below the Highlanders in the table, the red and gold were able to enjoy Super Cup success and an ISL draw with arch-rivals Mohun Bagan Super Giant. Interestingly, East Bengal also secured their biggest ever ISL win when they defeated NEUFC 5-0 in the second leg at the Salt Lake Stadium earlier this season.

However, the hosts will be keen to disrupt East Bengal's momentum on home soil. NorthEast, coached by Juan Pedro Benali, resumed their league campaign after the break with a 1-1 draw at Jamshedpur FC as Mohammed Ali Bemammer equalized well outside the box in the second half.

However, Benali needs to strategize to nullify East Bengal's current attacking power while opening up opportunities for scoring chances. “We have only struggled to score in two games in the ISL so far, against EB away and against Mohun Bagan in Guwahati. We remain stronger defensively and have always scored and we will try to do that more than the other team tomorrow,” Benali said in Guwahati on Friday.

Meanwhile, East Bengal coach Carles Cuadrat, who is very confident after their Super Cup success in Bhubaneswar, said before the game: “We are trying to have a team that can fight to be in the higher stages of the ISL. “We have stood so far in two finals and showed against last season’s champions like Mohun Bagan, Mumbai City and Odisha that we can win games against them and put them in trouble.”