Goa: East Bengal are still on the lookout for their first win of the Hero Indian Super League season as they face Chennaiyin the Tilak Maidan here on Saturday 26 December.
After six games, the red and golds have zero wins, have scored the least (3) and conceded the joint-most (11). Both their goals were scored by Jacques Maghoma against Hyderabad .
However, there is a story that the numbers don’t tell. Their last couple of games have seen them put in improved performances. They were unlucky not to get a point against Hyderabad and all three after dominating Kerala Blasters in their last game.
Against Kerala, they split points due to a late equalizer and Fowlers insisted that his players had put that disappointment past them. “The morale that we got here has been good,” he said. “At times, we’ve been unlucky. It’s totally unfortunate that you’re conceding goals at the last minute. But the lads played really well and we created a lot of chances. We could have won the game quite convincingly. But football is like that.”
Fowler said that his players weren’t short on motivation and hoped that all that improvement would lead to results. “It shouldn’t be difficult to motivate any player. This is a job that we all love to do. We play the game because we love it. So the motivation is there. We are not a million miles away. The tide is turning. And hopefully, it will happen pretty soon. Everyone here is 120 percent behind me in what we are trying to do and what we are trying to achieve”.
Chennaiyin too are in a sticky situation and share a lot of the same problems that plague EB. They have scored just five goals in the league so far, with only their opponents on Saturday scoring less. Only two of those goals have come from open play.
However, they are coming off a morale-boosting victory over Goa and their coach Csaba Laszlo knows that their next few games will decide which way the momentum shifts. “Even if you’re favorite, there is a lot of pressure,” he said. “If you win two games, you go near the top of the table and if you lose two games, you move towards the bottom. It will be a tough game for us. They are a new team but they have adapted well. We have to concentrate very well and remain focussed.”