The third-placed Quess East Bengal will face former champions Aizawl FC in the ongoing I-League here at the VYBK Stadium today.
While the Kolkata giants would like to reduce the gap with table-toppers Chennai City FC in their run for the title, Aizawl, who are currently placed ninth in the points table, would aim to bring some consistency to their campaign this season.
A win for the visitors would only strengthen their confidence as a team as they have largely failed to impress all throughout their campaign. Quess East Bengal, who have been in a pristine form this season, would be wary about the former champions, whom they had suffered a 2-3 loss in the first leg in November last year.
The hosts have shown immense strength in their defence having only conceded 17 goals this season. With the likes of Costa Rican world-cupper Johnny Acosta, Borja Gomez and Chullova in the defence line, it will not be an easy task for Aizawl to breach the deadlock.
Aizawl's forward line comprising of Zikahi Dodoz, Kromah and Jaryan can also be equally threatening. Meanwhile, they can draw motivation from their exploits in the first meeting.
East Bengal's Spanish Coach Alejandro Menendez should be given credit for his tactical improvisations in their midfield, where it has been crucial, and should pose difficulty for the opponents.
With the likes of Mexican Esqueda and Joby Justin in the forward line, the hosts have a lethal attack force up their sleeves that have been creating trouble for all the opponents this season. Incidentally, Joby is the highest Indian and third highest goal scorer this season with nine goals to his kitty.
"It is an important match for us. Mostly everything is good with the team till now. Aizwal will impose a tough competition although they are fighting for relegation now. At this moment, the focus is on working hard for the next match and the next opponent. The team is focusing on the next match," Menendez said.
"We always work to win and we are looking to win all the three matches which are left. If we practice hard and give our best we can win the title," he said.
Aizawl, on the other hand, would have major defensive worries, having leaked as many as 24 goals in sixteen games so far. They have not been able to score many as well, managing only 17 goals from 18 games so far.
"The match is very important because it is a tough match for us. East Bengal is a good team and it is their home match. We are ready for the match. East Bengal is playing for the championship so they will be giving their best," Aizawl coach Stanley Rozario said.
"Every match is different as every team has its own style which changes according to the game. Football is a game where anything can happen. We will be giving our best to play well tomorrow", he added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)