SC East Bengal Face NEUFC, Look to Climb up Ladder

Goa, February 27: Both sides now having nothing to, the upcoming clash between SC East Bengal and NorthEast United FC will be do and/or die. Both teams play their penultimate match of this Hero Indian Super League season at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Monday.

The Red-&-Gold Brigade sit at 11th place on the ISL table, with 10 points from 18 matches. The Highlanders sit at 10th place, with 13 points from 19 games. Both teams need a win to ensure they do not finish the season at the bottom of the league.

SCEB coach Mario Rivera knows that his boys need a confidence-boosting win after a flurry of bad results, and the Spaniard is not taking this game lightly. “This match is crucial because, if we win, we will better our standings in the league table. We are playing well, but we want that to reflect in the match result too,” Rivera told the media in the pre-match press conference, adding that their approach in the last two matches will be the same as the previous matches: to win.

Asked about how he is keeping the players motivated, Rivera said, “The team is performing better with every passing match. The attitude has improved, and all the players are training very hard. So there's no question of any lack of motivation.”

SCEB, plagued with injuries throughout the tournament, is seeing no reprieve even at the tail end, with the Kolkata-based team set to miss the services of Amarjit Singh Kiyam and Jackichand Singh in this match.

SCEB had also announced the signing of Nepal defender Anant Tamang on Wednesday, and Rivera clarified the reason for the late signing. “We needed a good Asian player after Tomislav Mrcela left to play in a good Australian team for a full season, so we signed Ananta,” Rivera said.

Rivera, like a lot of coaches, changes his formation in almost every game. When asked for the reason behind it, the Spaniard was clear in his views. “In modern football, you need to play in different formations, in my opinion. It's much better for you and more difficult for the opponent. I don't like to play every match with the same bunch of players, I try and rotate my squad,” Rivera explained.

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