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East Bengal play DSK Shivajians amid fan protests

East Bengal's loss to Mohun Bagan has virtually ended their challenge for the I-League title this season.

By: PTI | Kolkata |
Updated: April 15, 2017 6:46:55 pm

Their hopes for a maiden I-League title all but over after losing against Mohun Bagan, under-fire East Bengal will hope to return to winning ways when they clash against DSK Shivajians at the Vidyasagar Krirangan tomorrow.

Mohun Bagan secured an emphatic 2-1 victory over East Bengal in the derby match in Siliguri that has virtually sealed the fate of the Trevor Morgan’s side.

Such was the frustration among the East Bengal supporters that about 200 of them laid a siege at the club yesterday demanding “Morgan go back”.

With four matches remaining, the coach has got a lifeline as a realistic target for the Englishman would be to finish inside top-three.

The fans also targeted East Bengal goalkeeper T P Rehenesh, accusing him of being responsible for the three successive losses — against Mohun Bagan, Chennai City FC and Churchill Brothers — to fall behind in the title race.

Rehenesh had apparently made some foul gestures instigating the irate mob and it remains to be seen whether he escapes any punishment from the club management.

Morgan’s contract runs till the end of Federation Cup as East Bengal have wanted him to put a “respectable” show especially after the latest outrage.

So, Morgan’s task will be cut-out in the remainder of the I-League and it is expected that the Englishman would make wholesale changes, including dropping Rehenesh.

East Bengal did not want to part ways with Morgan as he was tied down to a contract which runs until May 31, while they showed the door to his deputy Warren Hackett and goalkeeping coach Abhijit Mondal.

However, he made it clear that they could have a change of mind before the Federation Cup starts from May 7, conditional to how Morgan performs in the last three games of the I-League.

East Bengal had won the National Football League in the 2003-04 season but after it was renamed I-League the red-and-gold brigade have never won the title while rivals Mohun Bagan have won in 2014-15 and emerged as strong contenders this season.

With four rounds remaining, East Bengal are third with 27 points, three behind Mohun Bagan who are ahead of Aizawl FC on goal difference.

East Bengal forward line-up will be depleted as Trinidad and Tobago recruit Willis Plaza was sent off in the derby in Siliguri.

Pune outfit Shivajians lost 2-3 to Shillong Lajong at home in their first match after the break as they languish at eighth place in the table.

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