Vasco, March 4: SC East Bengal’s journey in this season’s Hero Indian Super League has been a bumpy one, with a string of bad luck and bad results. However, the men in Red-&-Gold will be looking to finish the tournament on a high when they take on Bengaluru FC in their final encounter of the season at the Tilak Maidan Stadium here on Saturday.
Bengaluru FC sit at the 6th spot on the ISL table, with 26 points from 19 games, while SC East Bengal stands at 11th place, with 11 points from 19 matches.
While speaking to the media ahead of the game, SCEB coach Mario Rivera hailed the effort and commitment the players have shown this season. “If we check the results in my tenure, it’s not good, but if one looks at the matches, the improvement is there for all to see. We grew more confident with the ball, the ability to string passes together increased, and in the last few matches, we created numerous chances. It was a difficult period for us, with outcomes not going our way, but I’m happy with how the team has played and fought,” Rivera said.
SCEB’s latest recruit, Nepal international Ananta Tamang, is yet to register any minutes for the Kolkata side. When asked, Rivera said, “Ananta will be on the team list, but it remains to be seen whether he will get any game time. It is never easy for anyone to play after being in quarantine for so long, but he is a good player with a positive attitude.”
Rivera also has his sights set on providing some game time to the young players tomorrow. “They have been training well and deserve some minutes,” the Spaniard said.
Injuries have been a constant occurrence in the SCEB camp and the Rivera will miss some of his key players in this season’s last match too. “Hira Mondal will need surgery on his nose, Darren Sidoel is out with an ankle injury. Fran Sota has an injury on his wrist, he might be able to play with some protection. The rest of the players are available to play,” Rivera said.
Rivera also offered a word for SCEB’s huge supporter base, which was left disappointed by the team’s performance. “First of all, we are very sorry we could not provide the desired results, but I think all the fans can be very proud of our team because we played with the right spirit and fought till the end in every match. Hopefully next season, SC East Bengal can be in a position in tune with the legacy of the club,” the coach signed off.