Minerva Punjab are set to lock horns with East Bengal in the 2018-19 I-League at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium, Panchkula, on Sunday.
Minerva Punjab v East Bengal
Sunday, March 3
2:00 PM IST (GMT +5:30)
TV CHANNELS & LIVE STREAM
The Star Sports Network have the exclusive broadcasting rights of the I-League. The games will be telecast on television as well as digital platforms.
India (English) TV channel
Hotstar and Jio TV
Key Players: Juan Quero, Mahmoud Al-Amna
East Bengal Possible XI:
Key Players: Enrique Esqueda, Jaime Santos
Minerva Punjab could well decide the I-League champions of this edition if they manage to hold East Bengal for a point.
Chennai City can be crowned champions as even if East Bengal win and Chennai go down in their last league match, a better head-to-head difference will hand them the title.
Minerva churned out a hard fought victory over NEROCA FC in their previous match and a point on Sunday will be enough to ensure that they are not relegated.
Mahmoud Al-Amnah will have a score to settle with his former club after the Syrian was unceremoniously shown the door in the middle of the season. His partnership with Juan Quero was in instrumental for Minerva against NEROCA which should be a cause of concern for East Bengal.
East Bengal's Kassim Aidara will also return to his previous stomping ground and he will have to play a key role alongside Lalrindika Ralte to contain the likes of Amna and Quero.
East Bengal will go for the kill right from the first whistle and an early goal will definitely make matters easier for Alejandro Menendez. Minerva are not known to make great comebacks and striking early will only dent the morale of the hosts.
Jaime Santos and Enrique Esqueda must be at their best as it is a tough task to break down Minerva's defence. Caicedo Rodriguez is expected to marshall Minerva's backline along with Arashpreet Singh and much will depend on how they deal with East Bengal's attacking prowess. Meanwhile, the absence of Jobby Justin will definitely be a relief to Minerva.
Laldanmawia Ralte is going through a purple patch and Akash Sangwan must drop deep and help his wing back to keep a check on the Manipuri winger.
Minerva will once again rely on long balls and look to hit on the counter. So we can expect Johnny Acosta and Borja Perez to deal with a lot of aerial balls.
Can East Bengal maintain their title charge by beating Minerva or will the Warriors fight and earn a point to escape from the drop zone?