NorthEast United face SC East Bengal in Match 17 of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) season at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, Goa, on Saturday evening.

Robbie Fowler’s East Bengal have endured a difficult start to their season so far, losing both their opening two games. They haven’t yet scored a goal in the ISL and have conceded five.

In their last match, East Bengal were torn apart by a Hugo Boumous masterclass, as Mumbai City FC beat them 3-0.

From a NorthEast United perspective, the start to the season so far has been encouraging for Gerard Nus. They sit in fifth place with five points from their opening three games and are level on points with third-placed Bengaluru FC and Hyderabad in fourth place.

After a 1-0 win over Mumbai City FC in their opening game, NorthEast United have drawn 2-2 against Kerala Blasters and 1-1 against FC Goa.

NorthEast United vs. SC East Bengal head-to-head

This will be the first game to ever take place between NorthEast United and SC East Bengal.

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NorthEast United vs. SC East Bengal team news

Gerard Nus has a problem with the fitness of goalkeeper Subhashish Roy Chowdhury. Gurmeet Singh came on for the second half during their last game against FC Goa and provided a couple of decisive moments. That means Nus would not have a problem in trusting Gurmeet to start this game.

The likes of Ninthoinganba Meeitei and Ashutosh Mehta should be able to start this game. They are expected to come back into the side in place of Britto PM and Provat Lakra. In addition, Kwesi Appiah could replace Idrissa Sylla.

East Bengal have concerns over the fitness of their striker Aaron Amadi-Holloway and captain Danny Fox. With only six foreigners signed before the start of the season, it looks like East Bengal will have to go into this game without being able to field five foreigners from the start of the game.

NorthEast United vs. SC East Bengal predicted XIs

NorthEast United Predicted XI (4-3-3): Subhashish Roy Chowdhury; Ashutosh Mehta, Benjamin Lambot, Dylan Fox, Gurjinder Kumar; Lalengmawia, Khassa Camara, Lalrempuia Fanai; Ninthoinganba Meeitei, Kwesi Appiah, Gurmeet Singh

SC East Bengal predicted XI (3-4-2-1): Debjit Majumder; Scott Neville, Mohamed Irshad, Rana Gharami; Surchandra Singh, Matti Steinmann, Wahengbam Angousana, Narayan Das; Anthony Pilkington, Jacques Maghoma; Balwant Singh

NorthEast United vs. SC East Bengal prediction

The defense is a massive worry for Fowler, especially in Fox’s absence. NorthEast United have posed a consistent goal threat in all their games this season and must be considered favorites against a weakened East Bengal side.

Prediction: NorthEast United 2-1 SC East Bengal

NorthEast United fixtures: ISL 2020-21 schedule, venues and timing -  Sportstar