The Islanders are geared up to take on East Bengal FC in their upcoming fixture of the 2022/23 Indian Super League at the VYBK Stadium in Kolkata on the 16th of December, with action kicking off at 7:30 pm IST.
The Islanders are second on the ISL table with 21 points in 9 games and are undefeated in their campaign so far. Des Buckingham's men have won five games and drawn three. Mumbai City have been in stellar form and also lead the league in terms of goals with 27. A win will help Mumbai City reclaim the top spot on the table, going past Hyderabad who have currently played a game more than the Islanders.
The Islanders started their ISL campaign with a 3-3 draw against Hyderabad FC. Des Buckingham's side were quick to find momentum with a 2-0 victory against Odisha FC at home. A hard-fought battle against Jamshedpur saw them share points in a 1-1 draw, but they recovered soon after with a 2-0 victory against Kerala Blasters in Kochi. They followed it up with a thrilling 2-2 draw against ATK Mohun Bagan. A series of dominant victories ensued for the Islanders soon after as they defeated Chennaiyin 6-2 and Bengaluru FC 4-0. In the weeks to follow, they doubled down on their goalscoring prowess, defeating NorthEast United and FC Goa, 3-1 and 4-1, respectively.
Stephen Constantine’s East Bengal ranks eighth on the ISL table and has had a mixed season so far. They have registered nine points in just as many games with wins against NorthEast United (3-1), Jamshedpur (3-1), and Bengaluru FC (1-0) - all coming away from home - and are yet to win a game in Kolkata. In their most recent game, they lost 2-0 to Hyderabad FC away from home.
In the pre-match press conference in Kolkata, Des Buckingham spoke about the challenge of facing East Bengal as he said, “Stephen Constantine is a very good head coach. He has had some wonderful experiences in India. He certainly knows how to get the best out of his players and he's done very well with the team so far, and we're expecting a tough challenge as a test as any other team we've played so far this year. We know we're going to need to be on top of our game to try and come here and play the football that we want and come away with the result that we want.”
Mandar Rao Dessai accompanied Coach Buckingham to the pre-match press conference and also spoke about the challenge that East Bengal will put up and the mentality of the squad going into the game. He said, “Yeah, it's always a good challenge for us. It's not only me, but all the teammates. I think we will be facing a pretty solid team in East Bengal who have some good players and we are also ready to face such good players. Hopefully tomorrow we will come away with a good result.”
He went on to add, “I think whenever we face any kind of team, we prepare for each game in a different way, and right now we just need to concentrate on tomorrow's game.”
Buckingham signed off from the press conference by saying, “We've had some good experiences. We spent five weeks here in Kolkata during the Durand Cup and that was to try and prepare this team as well as it could to start the ISL season. Those experiences will put us in good stead now because we played in this stadium three or four times during that tournament. The crowds here are there in numbers, and that's wonderful for the game because it allows the players to showcase what they can do in front of so many people.”
Where To Watch
The game will kick off at 7:30 pm IST and will be broadcast live on the Star Sports Network, Hotstar, and Jio TV for all viewers in India. For our global fans, you can download the OneFootball app, find your broadcaster at indiansuperleague.com/