East Bengal will look to break their run of three defeats in a row when they host Gokulam Kerala at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday.
East Bengal vs Gokulam Kerala
Saturday, December 8
5:00 PM IST (GMT +5:30)
TV CHANNELS & LIVE STREAM
The Star Sports Network have the exclusive broadcasting rights of the I-League. The games will be telecast on television as well as digital platforms.
India (English) TV channel
Star Sports 3
Hotstar and Jio TV
Key Players: Enrique Esqueda, Borja Gomez, Johnny Acosta
GOKULAM KERALA FC:
Key Players: Daniel Addo, Guilhereme Batata, Arjun Jayaraj.
East Bengal are under immense pressure to overturn their three-match losing streak ahead of their sixth round clash against Gokulam Kerala FC at home on Saturday.
The Red and Golds are off to one of their worst starts in the history of the I-League as they stand on the eighth position on the table with just six points after five matches.
Alejandro Menendez's boys will look to notch a win before the all-important Kolkata derby on December 16.
The Kolkata giants have failed to attain the desired results so far. The team has been extremely poor on the pitch with their midfield in absolute shambles. The Spanish coach has used a total of eight players in midfield but he is yet to find the perfect combination even after five matches.
Menendez is expected to make quite a few changes in the East Bengal starting lineup ahead of the Gokulam match. Kamalpreet Singh, who has underperformed in all the five matches in a makeshift position as a central midfielder, is likely to be replaced by Lalrindika Ralte.
India international defender Salam Ranjan Singh is likely to make his first appearance for the club this season replacing Costa Rican World Cupper Johnny Acosta. With a gap of only three days between the Minerva and the Gokulam match, Alejandro might relegate Acosta to the bench.
Much to the club and their fans’ relief, their sixth foreigner Jaime Santos Colado has finally arrived in Kolkata. He started training with the team on Wednesday and is likely to be on the bench.
After a poor start to their campaign, Gokulam came back strongly by registering two wins and a draw in their last three matches and are slowly climbing up to the top half of the league table.
The Malabarians, under the tutelage of experienced Indian coach Bino George, have displayed quality with their young Indian recruits shining brightly. The likes of Rajesh S, Arjun Jayaraj, Gani Ahmed Nigam have displayed a stellar show so far in the league.
Gokulam were dealt with a major blow when star striker Antonio German left the club on Wednesday citing personal reasons. The club made quite a noise in the transfer market this season when they brought in the former Kerala Blasters striker. But the association lasted for a very short period of time.
The departure of the star player ahead of this crucial match against East Bengal comes as a setback for Bino George’s side.
Will the South Indian outfit pile on East Bengal’s misery or will the Kolkata club come back strongly after the initial setback?