The last match was a sort of nightmare for Kingfisher East Bengal. They had travelled all the way to Goa and it was a grudge match for them. After all, the rivals were the defending champions Salgaocar who had played spoilsport in the Federation Cup final earlier this season.
But it turned out to be a match which the Red-and-Gold would love to forget; the earlier the better. You can afford to leave aside the 4-0 drubbing as well as the red-card to Mehtab Hosain – but one cannot afford to get the campaign derailed – because a lot of football in the League is still left to be played.
A day prior to East Bengal taking on Air India, East Bengal Coach Trevor Morgan said: “We need to put the last match behind us and Monday is a new day. It’s in fact, a new year. We will start from scratch – it’s a must-win match for us.”
“We need to keep ourselves in the top-half in the table,” he added.
Air India, who have been consistent in the League so far, however, couldn’t live up to the billing in their last match where they lost the plot to McDowell Mohun Bagan in the last twenty minutes to lose 1-3.
Coach Santosh Kashyap, nevertheless, put up a brave face. “It’s a big-match for us. It’s an away match for us but we intend to play as an unit. We will get our chances and if we can convert them, anything can happen,” he maintained.
“It’s the New Year. The earlier matches don’t affect us anymore. Our slogan is simple – play positive.”
East Bengal stay on 23 points from 12 matches while Air India are on 19 points from 12 matches.