Kalyani (West Bengal), Dec 3 (IANS) A title which has eluded them for quite some time now, city soccer giants East Bengal will be desperate to end the wait and start their campaign on a high when they take on Real Kashmir FC at the Kalyani Municipality Stadium here on Wednesday.
East Bengal are yet to win the I-League since it was rechristened from being the National League in 2007. The red and golds have come close on a number of occasions including last season where they finished second, just one point behind champions Chennai City FC.
Real Kashmir, on the other hand, defied odds to finish a remarkable third and would be eyeing to continue their form this season too.
Both Kolkata clubs East Bengal and Mohun Bagan will be seen playing their home matches here for the ongoing season.
Under the guidance of Head Coach Alejandro Menendez, the Red & Golds were able to draw at home with RKFC and win away in Kashmir which will give them a psychological advantage before they start their season.
Speaking before the match, Menendez said: “Real Kashmir is a very solid and strong team, their defence is very compact. We are very well aware that they are a very competitive outfit. The onus now lies on us, we need to be really accurate and sharp whenever we have the chance to attack.”
“We need to perform well in this match to enhance our chances and to get success in the league, otherwise, things can get tricky towards the end of the season. I believe it is going to be a very tough game,” he continued.
Real Kashmir FC, on the other hand, had a dream season from being the first-ever team from Kashmir to play in the I-League and almost coming close to winning the trophy at one point of time in the league. Real Kashmir finally finished third in the league table with 37 points from 20 games.
All eyes will be on the marquee player of the team Mason Lee Robertson who possesses the unique ability to play in contrastingly different positions.
The team is also bolstered with the inclusion of former Neroca FC striker Singham Subash Singh and winger Kallum Michael Higginbotham, the fresh transfer from Scottish Championship side Dunfermline Athletic Football Club.
Head Coach of Real Kashmir FC, David Robertson reiterated his confidence in the team and said, “Last season, we had a good season and defended well and had a very good defensive record. This season we have added more firepower and hope to score more goals.”
He added: “East Bengal is a very tough team to play against they are stronger than last season also. I think they will be one of the strongest teams this season and one who can win the championship.”