Why East Bengal’s derby defeat is not the end of their road in the ISL 2020-21 season?

It was a night of disappointment for SC East Bengal, as they started their debut ISL campaign with a 0-2 loss to arch rivals ATK Mohun Bagan. Although there were signs of promise from the Red and Gold Brigade, their hopes were eventually crushed by Roy Krishna and Manvir Singh’s strikes.

Following the match, East Bengal manager Robbie Fowler is quoted as saying, “I am not satisfied with the results, but I think performance-wise we were okay. In the first half we put on a great performance. The result is disappointing, but we showed glimpses of what we can be in the coming days.”

ISL 2020/21: We can get better - SC East Bengal's Robbie Fowler assures  improvement after 0-2 loss | Football News – India TV

As Fowler rightly puts it, his team did not play in an unconvincing fashion at all. The defence was largely solid and they formed good partnerships in the final third of the pitch as well. However, lack of match fitness and the cutting edge to deliver goals and assists is what let down SCEB in the game as well.

Fowler continued and said, “I don’t think ATKMB dominated the game. Certainly, we were a far better team in the first half and we should have scored some goals given the great chances we got.” The team also got a few good chances courtesy of Anthony Pilkington and Balwant Singh, although not a lot was made of it in the match when counted. 

ATK Mohun Bagan defeat arch-rivals SC East Bengal in ISL's first-ever  Kolkata derby
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However, this bodes well for East Bengal as they will look to carry on this form into their next set of games and actually build up on a points scoring run, in what will be just their debut campaign.

They have a solid squad and some strong leaders that are capable of marshalling the troops to important victories. Most importantly, being one of the biggest clubs in Indian football comes with a reputation to maintain and a desire to drive forward and achieve success. Surely then, East Bengal will look to, at the very least, contend for a Playoffs spot and give every other team a genuine run for their money. 

Bhargav Gopal
The quintessential football aficionado who knows a thing or two about Economics. One can often find me reading detective novels with coffee when I am away from the sports world.

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