Kozhikode: Gokulam Kerala FC will be looking to shake off their recent woes as they host Kolkata giants East Bengal at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode on Tuesday, March 3. The match is scheduled for a 7PM kick-off and will be broadcast LIVE on 1Sports and the 1Sports official Facebook Page. Online streaming is also available on the Fancode app and website.
In their last five matches, Gokulam have only managed to pick up five points (one win, two draws and two losses). East Bengal, on the other hand, are on a four-match unbeaten run in the league, having won two and drawn as many.
The last encounter between the two sides saw Gokulam outgunning EB 3-1 on their own turf in Kalyani, subjecting them to their second of what turned out to be three successive losses for the Kolkata giants back then.
The Malabarians, however, have struggled to find consistency and it has come back to haunt them time and again as they currently find themselves with just one win in their previous five outings, languishing at seventh place on the table with 18 points, one point adrift of their opponents, who are at fourth.
Gokulam have a game in hand, though, and could leapfrog to third place with a win on Tuesday.
"East Bengal is a competitive team, a club with a lot of history and recognition. The two foreign additions have empowered the team and it will be a really difficult team for us, although we always rely on our potential, our qualities and our character to try to win." said Fernando Santiago Valera, head coach of Gokulam Kerala FC.
Weighing on his team's struggles this term, he further added, "I think that the lack of success in front of goal has penalised us a lot. We are a team that generates good football and many possibilities to get a goal and with /different players involved, not only our forwards. Maintaining the same philosophy is what makes us strong as a team and the progression of the players is clearly visible."
While there's plenty of work that remains to be done in the EB camp, a couple of steps have been made in the right direction by new coach Mario Rivera. New signing Victor Perez has been a breath of fresh air in midfield, allowing Juan Mera more freedom on the flanks and Jaime Santos Colado to bring his natural game in the number 10 position.
"The objective is to try and win all matches for the remainder of the season", said an upbeat Mario Rivera Campesino, head coach of East Bengal.
However, the Spanish gaffer isn't oblivious to the threat that Gokulam possesses and added, "Gokulam are a good team. They have a quality squad with great foreigners and besides that, they know this league inside out. It's going to be a tough one for us."
East Bengal have seen better days in the I-League, but they seem to be drifting away from the turbulence they have endured in recent times. While it hasn't been a particularly great run for the Red and Golds, they could rise to second in the table - a resurgence that didn't seem probable even a fortnight ago