East Bengal eye history

East Bengal eye history

Seeking to become the first Indian football club to qualify for the AFC Cup final, East Bengal are all set for their toughest assignment so far when they take on defending champions Kuwait SC in the first-leg semifinals here on Tuesday.

East Bengal are the only unbeaten team among the four semifinalists, but Marcos Falopa’s side would face their toughest test of the campaign against Kuwait SC.

The Kolkata side is without its Japanese midfielder Ryuji Sueoka who was injured during the quarterfinal against Indonesian side Semen Padang, but all the other players are fit for the match. They can also play their skipper Mehtab Hossain, defender Arnab Mondal and Gurwinder Singh who could have all missed the match following a problem with their visas.

East Bengal coach Fulopa said that he was anticipating a tactical game.
“I am looking forward to a tactical game in Kuwait and I am happy that we are playing the first leg away from home. Playing the second leg at home would give you a clear picture of the target that has to be achieved,” he said.

Gurpreet Singh is expected to start under the bar despite his horrendous mistake that let Semen Padang take the lead at home in the quarterfinal.

India international Arnab Mondal is expected to start alongside Uga Okpara at central defence while Saumik Dey should man the left back position. Thokchom Naoba is expected at right back, overlapping with either Reisangmei Vashum or Joaquim Abranches. Captain Mehtab Hossain will marshall the midfield alongside Cavin Lobo, with Chidi Edeh and James Moga expected to start upfront.

Kuwait SC, the most successful Kuwaiti side, will be without key defender Yaqoub Al Taheris, who picked up a red card in the quarterfinals.

Much will depend on Kuwait international Al Shereedah who will be marshalling the midfield and the two lethal strikers – Brazilian Rogerinho and Tunisian Isaam Jemma.
EB complain

Unhappy with the shabby treatment meted out to its players, including late arrival of visas of three key players for the semifinal, East Bengal has made a formal complaint to the Asian Football Confederation, saying that it has impacted its preparations for the crucial match.

“Even the players were not given enough water at their team hotel in Kuwait City. This is unacceptable,” Majumdar said from Kolkata.

“We have already made a formal complaint to the AFC that what Kuwait SC had done was not acceptable and we have suffered due to all these,” he added.

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