East Bengal look to swell IFA Shield tally

Kolkata: A record 27-time winners East Bengal would look to swell their tally when they take on United SC in the 116th IFA Shield final at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Friday.

The tournament lacked some sheen this year after heavyweights like Mohun Bagan and Goan teams including last year`s champions Churchill Brothers pulled out because of a poor timing.

Botafogo though added the Brazilian flavour this season, they failed to make much of an impact, having lost to United SC in the semifinals on Wednesday.

Fresh from their extra-time win over the Brazilian outfit, the Sanjoy Sen-coached side would be keen to push the local giants to the brink.

With Ghanian Yusif Yakubu in his old silken touch and the team fielding a creative midfield, United SC is expected to give the Trevor Morgan boys some hard time.

After practice, Morgan said that the team has a fighting midfield in Lalkamal Bhowmick and Denson Devadas but the former did not figure in their match against Botafogo.

In the East Bengal line-up, Australian Togay Ozbey and Robin Singh will lead the attack, while Orji Penn would man the midfield in absence of Mehtab Hussain.

The red and gold brigade has injury worries to Harmanjot Khabra and Sushant Matthew even as the former appears to be fit for Friday.

"It will be a competitive match. They have a good midfield and in Yakubu they have a dangerous striker. But we are keen to be on the winning side," Morgan said.


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