Minerva eager to impress vs East Bengal in first I-League home match (Preview)

Ludhiana, Jan 28 (IANS) Debutants Minerva Punjab FC will be keen to make a mark while hosting their first I-League home match in a battle against Kolkata football giants East Bengal here on Sunday.

The match will also mark the return of I-League to the city of Ludhiana for the first time since the 2010-11 season, reports i-league.org.

Minerva are determined to produce a good show against their heavyweight opponents. They are currently placed at the bottom of the standings with just a point from four matches. East Bengal are second with 10 points from four games.

A win for East Bengal will take them level on points with leaders Mohun Bagan (13).

Minerva will be bolstered by the arrival of their technical director Colm Toal and his inputs shall benefit an under-confident team immensely.

Minerva coach Surinder Singh said they were unfortunate to get only a point from four away games.

“We are taking only the positives from our previous games and stepping into tomorrow’s home game and we’re playing to win three points,” he said on Saturday.

Surinder confirmed his side is fully fit but is concerned at his team scoring only one goal in the four matches.

East Bengal coach Trevor James Morgan has guided East Bengal to two away victories already in the tournament. They are approaching the match on the back of a 2-1 win over reigning champions Bengaluru FC.

“The I-League is tough and taxing, we’ve played across different surfaces, against different types of opposition and it’s been a lot of travelling around,” Morgan said.

“We had a good win against a good side (Bengaluru). We have to prepare for a hard game against Minerva Punjab FC. We don’t want to be upset here in Punjab.”

The English coach is pleased to see striker Robin Singh get back to scoring ways as he scored the winner against Bengaluru.

“Tomorrow is a new game. It’s not an easy game and we’ll play to win it,” Robin said.

East Bengal’s influential midfielder Mehtab Hossain is in form. Defender Ivan Bukenya has also adapted to the team smoothly, scoring their first goal against Bengaluru.

East Bengal will hope these key players ensure another away win for them.