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ISL 2022-23: East Bengal FC hosts NorthEast United FC amidst mathematical playoffs opportunity in mind

East Bengal FC are, mathematically, still in the hunt for a playoffs spot this season and will be looking to establish parity with Chennaiyin FC as they host NorthEast United FC in ISL 2022-23 on Wednesday.

football ISL 2022-23: East Bengal FC hosts NorthEast United FC amidst mathematical playoffs opportunity in mind snt
First Published Feb 8, 2023, 8:00 AM IST

East Bengal FC will welcome NorthEast United FC to the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan Stadium on Wednesday in an effort to draw even with Chennaiyin FC on the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) standings. 

East Bengal FC are still mathematically in contention for a playoff position this season. Before playing the Marina Machans this Sunday, the Torch Bearers need three points to tie the Marina Machans in points. The Highlanders, however, are still looking for their season's first away points.

Although East Bengal FC are ostensibly still in contention, head coach Stephen Constantine has made it clear recently that the remainder of the campaign would be a part of a wider initiative to significantly improve before the following one.

They took a significant stride in that way this past Friday when they stunned Kerala Blasters 1-0 to secure their fifth victory of the year. Cleiton Silva, a stalwart of the team, scored his tenth goal of the year and is now involved in a competitive race for the golden boot.

As a result of Mobashir Rahman's red card in the final minutes of the previous game, Constantine will be happy to continue playing with new acquisition Jake Jervis partnering Silva up forward.

“I don’t judge teams on paper; I judge them on the field. They have improved in recent weeks and brought in a few new players,” said Constantine. “I don’t judge a team by where they are in the table. All games in ISL are difficult games. We have to be completely focused and implement last week’s formula. If we do that we will get the three points,” he added.

football ISL 2022-23: East Bengal FC hosts NorthEast United FC amidst mathematical playoffs opportunity in mind snt

Eight points behind Jamshedpur FC and firmly entrenched at the bottom of the standings is NorthEast United FC. If they lose to East Bengal FC, it will be the icing on the cake and they will finish the season in tenth position.

The Highlanders lost their third straight game in the Hero ISL this past weekend after failing to score. Additionally, in those three games, Vincenzo Annese's team has given up eight goals. NorthEast United FC gained all four of the points they currently have at home.

Due to his suspension, skipper Wilmar Jordan will still be unable to play in this game. Annese might either bring in Rochharzela for this confrontation or continue the Parthib Gogoi-Kule Mbombo frontal partnership.

“We had two days to prepare for this game. In the previous game, we were better in the second half and were looking for a draw. It was painful to see us not scoring,” said Annese. “Now we face an East Bengal side which was superb against Kerala Blasters in the last game. They are playing at home and got an additional day’s rest, so they will be in good form. As every other game in the ISL, it will be a difficult one,” he added.

In the reverse fixture earlier this season, East Bengal FC nabbed their first ever Hero ISL win over NorthEast United FC in five attempts. The Highlanders have been victorious on three occasions.

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