Internet Desk: East Bengal will take on Salgaocar FC with a place in the U-18 I-League final on the line at the Barasat Stadium in Kolkata on Friday.
East Bengal and Salgaocar FC have never made into the final of the competition and both will be desperate to get one hand on the trophy. Incidentally, the Goan outfit bowed out in the semi-final last season.
Making their maiden semi-final appearance, East Bengal have established themselves as one of the top contenders after registering some impressive performances during their group stage campaign.
The Red and Golds started off with a 1-0 victory over Maharashtra zone champions FC Pune City followed by a 3-1 win against last edition’s runners-up Tata Football Academy that sent them into the semi-finals for the first time before playing out a 2-2 draw with Shillong Lajong FC in their last group game.
Coach Ranjan Chowdhury has done an impressive job with East Bengal’s youth set up. East Bengal’s success in the competition has been based on coach Chowdhury’s tactics and the Red and Golds will look to continue their fine form in the knockout phase.
The Greens booked their place into the semi-finals as the best runners-up beating Royal Wahingdoh FC and Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools.
Striker Liston Colaco, who is top scorer of the competition, holds the key for Salgaocar and expected to provide a stiff challenge for the East Bengal defence that has been slightly exposed in the game against Lajong.
These two teams met in 2016 IFA Shield where the Red and Golds had the last laugh courtesy a 2-0 victory. Hence, the Greens would look to set the record straight when it matters the most.