KOLKATA: Defending champions East Bengal will be seeking nothing less than a win against newbies Rainbow Athletic Club when the sides clash in the 2017/18 Calcutta Premier Division – A opener on Saturday.

The match at East Bengal Ground will be crucial to either team for distinct reasons. East Bengal will be aiming to begin their title defense without any hiccups at their own ground, while Rainbow AC will be eager to make a strong statement on their Calcutta Premier Division debut.

“We intend to approach the match with the mentality to get all the points from it, in a short league such as this every point is useful,” said coach Khalid Jamil.

Starting well in the first fixture in their Calcutta Premier Division – A  campaign would be important according to Jamil.

East Bengal will start the game with almost full strength squad, the 2016/17 I-League winning coach will rely on his Indian recruits like Laldanmawia Ralte, Gurwinder Singh, Garbriel Fernandes, Cavin Lobo beside three foreigners in Mahmoud Amnah, Willis Plaza and Carlyle Mitchell, who are expected to play a important role in the game.

However, the Red and Golds will be missing the services of their defensive mainstay Arnab Mondal along with Mohammed Rafique, Salam Ranjan Singh and Nikhil Pujary, all of whom are called to the Indian National Camp in Mumbai.

“We are not walking into this match thinking we are favorites and that Rainbow AC are the underdogs. It does not matter to us because football has and is changing a lot. With many teams improving always, it is a negative thing to over duel on a supposed advantage because of pedigree. It always comes down to 90-minutes for both teams and it is exactly how both sets of players will do within that time.” Jamil concluded.

Interestingly, these two teams faced off couple of days back in a pre-season game which ended in a 1-1 draw. Therefor the Red and Golds will be looking to make amends.

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