Sporting Clube de Goa coach Ekendra Singh believes his team will start as the favourites despite being up against the might of title-chasing East Bengal in a eighth round I-League clash at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda on Monday.
Only a point and two spots separates the two teams but while East Bengal are universally acknowledged as among the favourites for the title, Sporting Clube haven’t really been tested in the I-League.
“This is our big test but, if you ask me personally, I would say we are the favourites. It is our home match, we have a good side and there is no reason why we should not be able to put it across East Bengal,” said coach Ekendra Singh.
Sporting Clube will be put back by the absence of two crucial midfielders as Freiman Peixoto and Joseph Pereira have been ruled out of the match due to injuries. Coach Ekendra, though, are not unduly worried as young Macroy Peixoto is being drafted into the first team to make up for the deficit.
“We have players who can fill the void. I am sure that our younger players will be able to give a good account of themselves,” said the coach.
East Bengal have lost two of their seven games so far, but there is no denying that Trevor Morgan’s side are among the favourites for the title.
The visitors have landed in Goa with Mehtab Hussain and indications are that the influential midfielder will have a role to play in the second session. Striker Allan Gow, however, has not made the trip.
The rest of the squad should automatically select itself, and if there is any question mark, it could be only on the central midfielder: whether Sushanth Matthew or Harmanjyot Khabra would partner Penn Orji in the middle.