EB aim to finish runners-up with a win over United SC
Kolkata: Having missed the crown narrowly, East Bengal will look to finish runners-up for a third time in four seasons when they conclude their I-League campaign against United SC at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Monday.
The red-and-gold brigade have now gone a decade without the league title as they will rue the fact that a bit more consistency could have sealed the trophy which was confirmed by debutants Bengaluru FC.
The red-and-gold brigade have the best record among all teams in the last five I-League fixtures with four victories.
Armando Colaco`s side were hoping for a favour from Dempo but Bengaluru FC sealed the title with a win last Monday and now the Kolkata giants must secure maximum points or risk losing the second spot to Salgaocar.
East Bengal are yet to beat United SC in the last five I-League meetings but have won two of the four clashes between the sides in all competitions this season.
Their last I-League encounter ended in a 1-1 draw and Colaco would want his boys to do one better.
The five-time League winning coach coach wants full commitment from his players till the final whistle of the season and they do come into this game on the back of an impressive 2-1 away win against Pune FC last week.
"Unfortunately, we can`t win the title anymore but I have told the players to remain focused and secure the runners-up place," Colaco said.
United SC confirmed their I-League survival last week with a 2-0 away win over Churchill Brothers and thus can play this final fixture of the season without any pressure.
That victory against Churchill Brothers ended a 13-game winless streak for United SC and they would be looking to finish a difficult season on a high.
Liberian Eric Brown has been the key performer for the purple shirts with 10 goals but they have successfully avoided relegation thanks to a solid team effort from the whole squad with the experience of technical director Subrata Bhattacharya also playing a key role.
The overall I-League head-to-head record is pretty even with each side recording three wins each and five games ending all square.