Kolkata: East Bengal will play their biggest and toughest match to date on home turf when they face defending champions Kuwait SC in the AFC Cup return leg semifinal at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan here on Tuesday.
Having lost their first leg semifinal to Kuwait SC 4-2 in Kuwait City, the Kolkata giants have their task cut out as they require at least a 2-0 or 3-1 win to make history.
No Indian club ever has advanced to the AFC Cup final. Dempo had qualified for the semis in 2008 while East Bengal's previous best was in 2004 when Subhas Bhowmick had coached the side to the quarters.
The strategy employed by East Bengal's Brazilian coach Marcos Falopa will be interesting after his move to push left-back Saumik Dey into midfield backfired.
Otherwise, East Bengal have a settled line-up in James Moga and Edeh Chidi up front, while the third foreigner Uga Okpara will have the most challenging job to thwart the Kuwait SC strikers.
Captain Mehtab Hossain, Cavin Lobo and Lalrindika Ralte form the midfield trio.
The huge gap between both the teams is evident from the fact that the Kuwaiti outfit is looking for a record third AFC Cup title and is ranked 141st among world clubs in which East Bengal are ranked 447th.
Kuwait SC won the AFC Cup in 2009, 2012 and they were runners-up in 2011 while also clinching the Kuwait Premier League 11 times.
They boast of the tournament's top-scorer Issam Jemaa, who netted seven times against Radiant SC in the quarters and his link-up play with midfield dynamo Rogerio Silva from Brazil is exceptional.
The 29-year old was the architect of their 4-2 win with a double in the first leg and East Bengal would be wary of the Tunisian forward.
Reflecting on the big challenge, Falopa said: "It's never the end. Our next target is the match. Past is past, so don't be upset. Keep up the support and stay with your club."