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ISL 2023-24: NorthEast United looks to avenge Durand Cup loss against East Bengal

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East Bengal will be looking to rekindle the flickering torch with a win when it hosts neighbouring NorthEast United FC at the Salt Lake Stadium in an Indian Super League (ISL) 10 fixture here on Monday.

The red and gold outfit, which has a burning torch as its emblem, saw its performance dwindling in the last four outings after the initial flare-up. The host will be keen to wipe away a series of setbacks at home (two losses and a draw) after starting with a win against Hyderabad FC on September 30.

That is the only win the team has managed so far in six matches in the season and East Bengal’s head coach Carles Cuadrat insisted on utilising the home advantage as his side searches for its second win in the tournament.

East Bengal is currently ninth in the table with five points from six matches.

The NorthEast United FC is enjoying a comparatively better start to the season under its head coach Juan Pedro Benali.

The team has nine points from two wins (both at home) and three draws and will be looking for its first win in the last 20 ‘away’ games (five draws and 15 losses), which is the longest such streak for any team in ISL history.

ALSO READ: Indian Super League: Mohun Bagan SG beats Hyderabad 2-0 and creates ISL history

While NEUFC enjoys a healthy 3-1 head-to-head record over East Bengal in the six meetings in ISL, the match is likely to become intense as the latter would draw inspiration from the 5-3 win (via penalties) in the Durand Cup semifinal late in August.

The Highlanders would be looking for the opportunity to avenge the loss in the second meeting with the same opponent this season.

A favourable result will also fetch it the winning rhythm it lost in the previous two outings (by drawing at home against Bengaluru FC and losing away against Odisha FC).

“We have to take advantage of the next two games to try to get points at home. In one week, we have the opportunity to win six points and that can make a big difference,” Cuadrat said, looking at the fact that his team would spend the week at home playing the next match on December 9 against Punjab FC.

“Every game has its own story and you cannot compare games and competitions. This is a different game and we are going there to get the best result possible. The past is the past,” Benali said about his team’s upcoming assignment.

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