I-League title battle still open, says East Bengal coach Jamil

File Photo : Khalid Jamil
IANS|27-Feb-2018 18:39

Kolkata, Feb 27 : East Bengal head coach Khalid Jamil on Tuesday said the I-League title race is still open as they attempt to seize the opportunity in case the top two teams -- Minerva Punjab and Neroca FC -- stumble.

East Bengal, third on the points table having 29 points from 16 matches, are two points adrift of surprise leaders Minerva who have 32 in their kitty from 16 outings.

Second-placed debutants Neroca FC are on 31 points from 17 games.

Asked about the opportunity to end a 14-year drought of league titles this season, Jamil asserted that his team is not thinking beyond the next game.

"We are not thinking about winning the league, we are thinking about the next game. You can say that the league is still open. Starting from next match, the last two matches are very important," Jamil said.

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Brazil-born naturalised Equatoguinean central defender Eduardo Ferreira is out of the Lajong tie on March 5 due to suspension.

Jamil said he will be missed but there are players who can replace him.

"He will be missed. Except Gokulam (Kerala FC) match, he played all the matches and for 90 minutes. We have replacement, Arnab (Mondal), Salam (Ranjan Singh). They will do well."

"Lajong match won't be easy. It will be tough. We have got sufficient rest so we are fresh," Jamil said.

East Bengal are playing their last match at home and Jamil feels that is an advantage.

"It's good that we are playing at home in the last game. We have to get full points in the last two matches. Rest is not on us," the former Mumbai FC coach signed off.