Kolkata, Feb 16: Home side Quess East Bengal (QEB), in red hot form and in the midst of a four-game winning streak, face Goan side Churchill Brothers FC on Sunday here at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), in a return leg 12th Hero I-League clash.
The Red & Golds will have an eye on league leaders Chennai City FC, who are just three points ahead of the third-placed Kolkata Giants after having played a game more.
The game under lights is also crucial for the visitors who are placed fourth at the moment with 30 points and a win on Sunday, could catapult them to the second position at this crucial business-end of the league.
The hosts had eked out an impressive odd-goal in the victory over their Sunday opponents when the two had met in the first leg in end-December last year, and the way they overwhelmed Shillong Lajong 5-0 in their previous game, Churchill Brothers will be wary of QEB’s form at home.
QEB have now been metamorphosed into a formidable unit by Spanish coach Alejandro Menendez Garcia who has both got the best out of Indian as well as foreign players and by also using the squad judiciously throughout the campaign.
A reflection of what he has achieved with the side is the fact that his is the only side in the 11-team league, which has an Indian, Jobby Justin, as their highest scorer with nine goals.
In fact, both his top scorers are Indians with Laldanmawia Ralte, the dimunitive Mizo winger having a stellar season, scoring seven for himself and his team in the process.
Churchill have lost their way a little bit in recent times, having picked up just two points in their last three games, which included a shock-loss to bottom placed Shillong Lajong at home and this run at such a crucial stage of the league could come back to haunt them later.
They have had two standout contributors this season. Trinidadian striker Willis Deon Plaza has notched up a phenomenal 17 goals in as many games and at one small stage of the campaign, was scoring at will.
Inspirational leader Dawda Cessay of Gambia has been the other standout not only with his crucial goals but also with his nine assists, which are by far the most by any player in the league. (UNI)