East Bengal geared up for Dempo test

 Backed by home support, East Bengal will start as favourites when they face defending champions Dempo in a clash of top sides in a round four I-League fixture here tomorrow.

The home side -- last year’s runners-up -- will miss the services of their number one goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal who has been ruled out for three weeks after injuring his left elbow in the previous match.

But, the red-and-gold-brigade will not be short of confidence at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan where they have won eight out of 10 matches against the Goans besides beating them in the final of the Federation Cup in their last meeting.

It will be a battle between two of the most tactically proficient coaches –- East Bengal’s English coach Trevor James Morgan and his highly decorated Indian counterpart Armando Colaco in the Goan side’s camp.

“East Bengal have one of the best coaches currently working in India,” Colaco said.
“East Bengal is a set team and is playing in a good rhythm and we would hope for a good match tomorrow,” added the Dempo coach.

Strengthened by the addition of the much-flaunted former EPL player -- Rohan Ricketts -- in their ranks, Dempo attack appears to have gained more edge as Colaco will have a wider option alongside his two regular attackers Koko Sakibo and Joaquim Abranches.

There have been reports of a brewing disagreement between Colaco and Ricketts about the playing position of the player.

The coach preferred a withdrawn position for Ricketts who apparently wanted to play in a purely offensive role. Both have denied this as ‘media speculations’ and have insisted on having a perfect harmony in the side.

The Dempo midfield remains one of their high points with the presence India campaigners Climax Lawrence and Clifford Miranda.

After their hard fought win over Pune FC in the previous match, East Bengal will have to raise their game to find a footing against Dempo.

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