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A game of set-pieces: SC East Bengal and Chennaiyin FC’s common weapon

SC East Bengal and Chennaiyin FC are in a contrasting situation at present in the ongoing Hero ISL 2021-22. The Kolkata-based club are desperately trying to strike the optimum level with their resources at their disposal and end their campaign on a high. Meanwhile, Chennaiyin FC are aiming to make their claims stronger for a top-four spot after losing track midway. However, they share one common attribute – scoring from set-pieces.

SC East Bengal have scored 10 out of their 14 goals this season from set-pieces this season, which accounts to 71.42% of the total. Out of the four open play goals scored so far, three of them have been due to defensive errors (75% of the total), each of the three have come against FC Goa. The Red and Gold Brigade have only taken 78 shots (60.47% of the total shots taken) from open play, the least by any team in the Hero ISL 2021-22.

Chennaiyin FC, on the other hand, have scored the fewest number of goals this season, having struck only 12 in 13 matches. Out of that tally, they have scored six from set-pieces, which accounts to 50% of the total. The four out of their last five goals have in fact come from set-pieces. While SC East Bengal have conceded seven goals from corners this season – a stat which might have attracted Bozidar Bandovic ahead of the practice sessions.

Moreover, none of the teams are reputed for playing an attractive brand of football. Rather, they are more comfortable to sit back and play on the counter. Chennaiyin FC, in a more commanding position at present, is likely to take charge of the game, but undoubtedly, will be heavily dependent on set-pieces, with the likes of Vladimir Koman and Nerijus Valskis at their disposal.

SC East Bengal, on the other hand, would find it difficult to break down the compact Chennaiyin FC defence, which leaves them only one option – pick their opponents with set-pieces. Amir Dervisevic, Tomislav Mrcela and Antonio Perosevic — all capable of converting from dead-ball situations. So, it is pretty clear that the match at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco, would be won or lost by the way the teams exploit with the use of the set-pieces.

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