Chennai City need a win against defending champions Minerva Punjab to lift their maiden I-League title in Coimbatore on Saturday.
With 40 points in 19 games, Chennai City are top of the table. However, East Bengal are one point behind and need a win over Gokulam Kerala to savour any hopes of stealing the title from Chennai City. A draw may see Chennai City through, provided East Bengal do not win against Gokulam.
On the other hand, East Bengal will face Gokulam in a must-win match in hopes of winning the title.
Chennai had the oppurtunity to win the title in the previous match but succumbed to a dramatic 2-3 defeat at the hands of Churchill Brothers.
Playing their final game of the season, Chennai will miss the services of its star midfielder Nestor Gordillo, who is facing a yellow-card suspension.
Gordillo is a key member of a troika of attacking Spaniards including league joint top scorer Pedro Manzi and Sandro Rodriguez. The trio has accounted for 37 of Chennai’s 45 goals.
Must-win for East Bengal
East Bengal will look to capitalize on Mexican forward Enrique Esqueda’s bright form when they face Gokulam Kerala in a must-win match Saturday and also hope for results to go their way elsewhere in a bid to claim the I-League title.
Esqueda was out of action after suffering a broken rib following a 3-1 win over Gokulam Kerala in December last year but the Mexican showed prolific form, scoring the first goal against Real Kashmir in a 2-1 win on February 28.
The Mexican recorded astounding stats after returning from injury to help the Red and Golds in their quest. With 8 goals and 2 assists to his name in the I-League, Esqueda has been the go to player for East Bengal.
Ahead of their match against Gokulam Kerala, Alejandro Menedez, Head Coach of East Bengal, was asked about Esqueda’s importance to the team.
“He has been an important figure in our setup. However, it is also important to note that one player is important,” the coach said.
“I am really happy that our foreigners are in good form and contributing to the team’s cause,” he added.
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