GUWAHATI: NorthEast United FC and East Bengal FC, two teams who are yet to open their account, would hope to secure their maiden victory when they face off in the Indian Super League 2022-23 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here on Thursday.
NorthEast sits in last place because of an inferior goal difference to East Bengal, but will take inspiration from the fact that the ‘Red and Gold Brigade’ has never beaten it in the ISL. Its first loss of the season was a tight affair against Bengaluru FC, which scored the only goal of the match in the 87th minute.
Its defeat to Hyderabad FC, however, was in a fairly one-sided tie, with the defending ISL champion displaying its authority in a 3-0 victory. It is to be noted that NorthEast is still searching for its first goal of the campaign.
Head coach Marco Balbul, who served a one-match suspension after picking up a red card in the team’s opener, will be back in the dugout for this clash. Despite NorthEast’s poor start to the season, Balbul was fairly optimistic about his side’s chances of winning the game.
“We have a really good team that can win. We will come with the right attitude, the right approach. The players have shown me in training that they are concentrating and committed. It will be a tough match, but we want three points,” said Balbul.
Meanwhile, East Bengal was beaten 1-3 by Kerala Blasters FC in its first game of the season. Its second match against FC Goa was a bit closer, where it lost 1-2 after Edu Bedia scored a stoppage time free-kick. EB head coach Stephen Constantine stressed that his team needs to start putting two halves together. “You know, I think that we have played well in parts, but now, we need to put them all together and be consistent. We are starting to find a rhythm; I see this in training. In the last couple of days, we have worked very hard on what we need to be doing. So, hopefully on Thursday, we get the positive result,” said Constantine.