Chittagong, Bangladesh: East Bengal and Chittagong Abahani will lock horns in the final of Sheikh Kamal International Club Cup on Friday (October 30) at the M.A. Aziz Stadium in Chittagong.
Despite playing without 13 of their regular features and losing Do Dong hyun in the first group game due to injury, East Bengal are the only unbeaten team of the competition, and hoping to remain till the end of it.
East Bengal has had a brilliant start of the tournament. The Red and Golds have won their first two group games, getting the better of Chittagong Abahani and Karachi Electric, though they drew against Dhaka Abahani in their last group game but turned on the style to beat Dhaka Mohammedan 3-0 in the second semi-final.
In the absence of Do Dong, Ranti Martins has continuted to be prolific for East Bengal, scoring three goals in four matches which includes a semi-final brace on last night.
Mohammed Rafique, who was instrumental in East Bengal’s sixth successive Calcutta Premier Division triumph. The former Atletico de Kolkata winger has continued his good form in Bangladesh as well by netting three goals in the competition, including a goal against their finale opponents Chittagong Abahani, came in their group stage meeting.
The addition of Orok Orok Essien has done wonders for the Bishwajit Bhattacharya coached side. The Nigerian has already bagged a man of the match award in the competition and even overshadowed Ranti Martins in some occasions.
On other hand, known as the sky blue brigade Chittagong Abahani started their campaign with lose against East Bengal, but since then have showed some sublime form itself and defeated Dhaka Abahani and Karachi Electric in group games before beating De Spinghar Bazan FC 3-1 in the first semi-final.
Mohamed Zahid Hossain is the key man for Chittagong Abahani, having scored four goals the Bangladesh international is the top scorer in the tournament jointly with Karachi Electric’s Muhammad Rasool.
Another mention should go to Eleta Kingsley, having scored two and assisted one in Chittagong Abahani’s semi-final win over Bazan, the Nigerian will be marked men right from the beginning.
Players like Jahid Hasan Ameli, Hemanto Biswas Vincent and Yoko Steve Thomas who have less impact in the tournament so far, will be itching to prove their worth in the finale. But a strong East Bengal defense, only conceded two goal in the competition, won’t allow anything easily for the hosts.
A tough match to call as heading into the final both teams are looking almost equal but Chittagong Abahani being backed by the home crowd are looking good to pull this one off but East Bengal will be boosted by the return of Do Dong hyun, who can single handedly turn the game in favour of the visitors.
Kick-Off: 7.10 pm IST