Goa, February 13: With the top four spots of the Hero Indian Super League out of sight, SC East Bengal will be looking to salvage some pride as they lock horns with Kerala Blasters FC at the Tilak Maidan in Goa on Monday.
The Manjappadas sit at 5th place on the ISL table, with 23 points from 14 matches, and have a chance to break into the top 4 should they snatch a single point from tomorrow’s game. SC East Bengal hold 10th place, above NorthEast United, with 10 points from 16 games.
SCEB coach Mario Rivera knows the team has the potential to influence the standings of the ISL. The Spaniard threw in a word of warning for his remaining opponents in the pre-match press conference. “I’m sure the top teams will not be happy to play SC East Bengal now, because they know we’ll be a very difficult team to beat. We are focused on winning the next match,” Rivera said.
Asked about the potential of Kerala Blasters, Rivera said, “KBFC has a very balanced side. Their attack and defence are well complemented. Of course, they’ll miss some players in tomorrow’s game, but their squad depth is fantastic and they are performing well in ISL.”
The Spaniard also had a positive update about Jackichand Singh. “Jackichand Singh is now training with the squad and, hopefully, he’ll be ready to play tomorrow’s match,” Rivera said.
Rivera also heaped praises on Hira Mondal but cautioned the left-back against complacency. “Hira Mondal has been exceptional this season, but it’s a learning curve for him and he needs to better himself every day. We are trying to help him so that he can improve on certain things and do what he has been doing throughout the season,” Rivera said.
The Spaniard also had some kind words for Lalrindika Ralte, who decided to hang up his boots on Saturday. “Lalrindika Ralte is a nice person and a good player. He always gave his best. I texted him and wished him all the best for his future. I’m very happy to have met him,” Rivera said.