Mumbai, Feb 16 (IANS) The I-League returns to the Cooperage Stadium in Mumbai for the first time in three years on Monday when the All India Football Federation's (AIFF) developmental side Indian Arrows square off against East Bengal.
The Arrows stunned the Red and Golds in Kalyani a couple of weeks ago, coming away with a 1-0 win, following which they received a huge round of applause from the home side fans. Although, after that, they lost 0-1 to defending champions Chennai City and played out a goalless draw against Neroca.
Shanmugam Venkatesh, Head Coach, Indian Arrows exuded confidence ahead of the match and said: "We are confident of a positive result against East Bengal. Our last match against them was a good one for us and we will give our 100 per cent once again."
Although Arrows have won against the Kolkata giants already, the coach remains wary of the challenge they still possess, saying "as I said earlier too, they are a very good team with a lot of talented players and we will have to be at our best to get the result we want."
East Bengal (EB) have had a plethora of problems to deal with over the season but can take note of a select few positives from their last outing against Punjab FC. They struck early in that game, courtesy of an Ansumana Kromah stunner but succumbed to lacklustre defending and conceded an equaliser, eventually drawing 1-1.
Despite the tough times that EB have been going through, their supporters still remain firmly behind their team as the proverbial 12th man, while forward Ansumana Kromah voiced his gratitude to the fans ahead of the game, saying "we are all grateful for the passionate support we still have, and I've felt that ever since I came back."
Kromah had been struggling to find himself in the starting XI but Marcos Jimenez De La Espada's dismissal in the reverse leg against the Arrows paved the way for him to make a point. Against Punjab, both Espada and Kromah were named to start upfront, with the latter delivering the goods and finding the net.
"We have to respect the Indian Arrows. They are a great team with some outstanding young talent. They like to run a lot and they stunned us at home. We need to be careful, especially their right-wing which can cause us some trouble," he concluded.