CFL 2019/20: Epic title race goes down to final day

KOLKATA: The 2019/20 Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’ title race enters the final chapter of an extraordinary season with Peerless SC and East Bengal battle to be crowned champions of Kolkata.

The equation is very simple for both sides. If Peerless win against George Telegraph at Barasat Stadium, they will write one of the greatest stories in CFL history by becoming the only second team outside the Big Three to win the title. Even a draw can see them through, provided East Bengal do not win at their home ground against Calcutta Customs.

East Bengal, on the other hand, have to win and will be hoping George Telegraph do them a favour by beating Peerless. For the record, after 10 games each, both teams tied on 20 points, however Peerless leading the table thanks to their superior goal difference +11 compared to East Bengal’s +7. Both games begin simultaneously at 2:30 PM.

When they are in the mood, East Bengal is devastating. Their potent attack is hard to pin down due to their movements, skill and speed. Mohammedan felt that this Thursday. They also boast an experienced technical team with members who bring valuable experience. The head coach Alejandro Menendez is a well-travelled man who has tasted success in most places he has been around the globe and has a knack of transforming average players to superstars.

However, East Bengal themselves are their own worst enemy. They blow hot and cold with alarming frequency. Their defensive frailties, struggling to deal with fast attackers, have dented their league ambitions. If it wasn’t for their attack, they wouldn’t even be considered in the title race such is the state of their porous defence where they struggle to keep clean sheets. Nonetheless, their I-League experience will definitely help them in terms of how to manage pressure situations.

Peerless, on the other hand, have a habit of spoiling the party for the “big teams”. For a long time they were Mohammedan’s bogey team, while they have stunned East Bengal and Mohun Bagan several times. Their ability to turn up in big matches puts them in a good position in a final stretch, but the lack of experience in fighting for the championship will be their biggest challenge. They need to manage their emotions, which is a tough ask at this stage.

Nonetheless, all of the abovementioned teams have to fight for what they believe is rightfully theirs, and that is by winning their matches and getting over the finish line.

It is the culmination of a fascinating and gripping season that has it all, twists and turns, ups and downs, unpredictability and a final day destined to be monumental and unforgettable. Both sides have had a fantastic season, and they both deserve to win. However, there can only be one winner, and whoever doesn’t win it, must just accept the defeat and plan better ahead of next campaign.

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