I-League 2019-20: East Bengal look to get back to winning ways against Aizawl FC
East Bengal will look to arrest their slide when they square up against former champions Aizawl FC in an I-League encounter.
Having lost four of their last five fixtures, the Kolkata giants have slipped to seventh in the table
The silver lining for East Bengal is that the 2016-17 champions, Aizawl are winless from six matches
The new pairing of Marcos Jimenez and Jaime Santos has not able to replicate the performance of Jobby Justin and Enrique Esqueda
East Bengal will look to arrest their slide when they square up against former champions Aizawl FC in an I-League encounter on Friday.
Having lost four of their last five fixtures, the Kolkata giants have slipped to seventh in the table, 12 points behind arch-rivals and league leaders Mohun Bagan.
There was no change in fortunes under new coach Mario Rivera, a former assistant of his predecessor Alejandaro Menendez, as East Bengal were stunned by AIFF's developmental outfit Indian Arrows in their last outing.
The new pairing of Marcos Jimenez and Jaime Santos has not able to replicate the performance of Jobby Justin and Enrique Esqueda, who scored 21 goals together last season.
While Santos was suspended for two games after a spat with ball boys, Jimenez was sent off in the last match and won't be available against Aizawl.
But the silver lining for East Bengal is that the 2016-17 champions, Aizawl are winless from six matches and are placed further below in the table at the 10th place.
"There is no perfect opponents to play. The important thing is that our team give good performance. If we perform well then we don't need to worry about the opponents," Rivera said in the pre-match conference.
The Spaniard said his side has the right attitude and could still win the league.
"This team has a very good attitude. They want to play, they want to fight. They believe in themselves and are more motivated. If it is mathematically possible to win the I-League we will fight for it."
However, Rivera backed his side labelling the loss against Indian Arrows an "accident"
"Indian Arrows was an accident. We played most of the parts well but we lost. But that was an accident. If we play that same match 10 times, we will win nine times and lose once.
"If we create chances then there is no problem. The real problem is if you can't create the chances. Sometimes players need only one chance to score and sometimes 10 chances. But this is normal in football. If you start scoring more things will change," he said.
The Stanley Rozario-coached Aizawl FC lost to Real Kashmir at home in their last outing as they too would be desperate to revive their campaign.
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