Kolkata: Virtually out of contention for a kock-out stage berth, East Bengal will have nothing to lose when they take on Persipura Jayapura of Indonesia in their last group AFC Cup match at Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Tuesday.
The Group H return-leg match, however, will assume importance for East Bengal in another context as it will give an opportunity for the hosts to test their bench strength ahead of their crucial I-League clash against Dempo.
Both Dempo and East Bengal are in I-League title race, their return leg clash on May 15 now figures in the top priority list for the red-and-gold brigade.
For Tuesday’s game, key striker Tolgay Ozbey has been ruled out while Mehtab Hossain will not play due to double booking.
East Bengal coach Trevor James Morgan said he would not like to take any pressure ahead of a crucial I-League match.
The Indonesian outfit, who had a 4-1 win in the first leg, will look to pocket full points to book a knock-out berth.