The Face-Off #HFCSCEB

Indian Super League, Round 5

Ahead of our clash against league debutants, SC East Bengal, we take a quick look at the squads, the opponents’ form and the key players to look out for.


SC East Bengal are led by English coach Robbie Fowler who is in his debut season in Indian football. The Liverpool legend has signed foreigners with prior experience in England and he hopes these players will play a role in East Bengal’s performance.  He also brings defensive and possessional organization to the Red and Gold brigade, which will be instrumental to their playing style on Tuesday.

Fowler’s last assignment saw him transform a struggling Brisbane Roar side to one of the title contenders in the A-League.


SC East Bengal have brought in noteworthy overseas players to the likes of Daniel Fox, Matti Steinmann, Jacques Maghoma, Scott Neville, Anthony Pilkington, Aaron Amadi-Holloway as well as well-established Indian internationals like Jeje Lalpekhlua and Eugeneson Lyngdoh. Another notable addition to the squad is centre-back, Gurtej Singh, who has made the switch from Hyderabad FC.

Like Hyderabad, East Bengal have also had their share of injury woes with key players like captain, Danny Fox, Halloway and Loken Meitei having to sit out important fixtures.


East Bengal are yet to win a game in the league after facing defeats against ATK Mohun Bagan, Mumbai City FC and NorthEast United in the opening three rounds. However, they will be positive going into the clash on Tuesday having earned their first-ever point, after a goalless draw against Jamshedpur FC.

Fowler’s men have shown glimpses of a promising attack in all their games with the Maghoma-Pilkington-Steinmann trio making consistent efforts at the goal. The main focus for Hyderabad’s defenders will be negating the threat posed by this combination. We can expect East Bengal to display organization in the midfield as well as solidity and discipline in defence, which could be a test for the HFC attack.

Key Men

Matti Steinmann (SCEB)

Steinmann has been influential as a box-to-box midfielder for East Bengal by creating chances, breaking play and linking up attack effectively. He is a creative presence in the midfield with good ball control, attacking prowess and ability to make crucial interceptions.  His all-round performance could be a challenge for HFC.

Anthony Pilkington (SCEB)

The Irish international has been one of the most impactful players for SCEB. As the organizer of his side’s attack in every game, he has frequently caused problems in the opponent box. Pilkington’s accurate passes and forward runs paired with clever positioning will make him a tough man to mark on the night.

Jacques Maghoma (SCEB)

Attacking midfielder, Jacques Maghoma has created close chances for his side on multiple occasions and has been able to threaten the opposition’s backline with tricky footwork and speedy movement. He works hard in the defence to intercept the opponent’s attack and win back possession. Maghoma will not only look to stir up trouble in Hyderabad’s backline but also aim to thwart any attempts from the HFC attackers.

Subrata Paul (HFC)

Subrata continues to be one of the key factors in the team’s improved defensive performances this season. The Arjuna-awardee was in superb form against ATKMB last week and his ability to deny dangerous attempts on goal has resulted in him conceding just one goal for his side. His agility, instinct and resilience in the goal will make his clash with SCEB’s Pilkington, Steinmann and Maghoma a contest to watch out for.

Joao Victor (HFC)

One of the most crucial overseas players for Hyderabad, Joao opened his scoring account on Friday after effectively converting a penalty against ATKMB.  The Brazilian has been a strong presence in the midfield with his attacking power, defensive strength, neat regulation of possession and efficient ball control. Victor’s accurate distribution of the ball clubbed with attacking intent will pose a threat to SCEB’s backline.

Hitesh Sharma (HFC)

Twenty-two-year-old Hitesh Sharma has been one of the key performers in a young HFC side and it’s his possessional organization, disciplined tackles, quick passing coupled with sharp footwork that has been impressive. He has consistently put-up all-around contributions on the pitch by facilitating the attack with precise crosses and by breaking up play in the defence with constant interceptions. His ability to restrict the opponent’s movement as well as create chances for HFC will make him a frustrating presence for the visitors.

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