A century-old rivalry added another chapter to its everlasting legacy as Mohun Bagan beat East Bengal in the first Kolkata Derby of the 13th I-League season. Catch highlights of the 'boro (big) match' here:
7:20 PM IST: And here's the first report. And there are so many talking points, including Mohun Bagan's impending move to Indian Super League.
Set to join the Indian Super League bandwagon from the next season, Mohun Bagan prevailed 2-1 against arch-rivals East Bengal in an emotional I-League derby. Joseba Beitia (18th) and Baba Diawara (65th) struck on either side of the break as Mohun Bagan put up a solid display both in the attack and defence to grab three points, consolidating their position atop the table. They now have 17 points from eight matches, six clear of second-placed Punjab FC.
A lacklustre East Bengal reduced the margin through Marcos Jimenez (72nd). They were unlucky when Juan Mera's 30-yard shot bounced off the crosspiece as they suffered a third defeat in a row to be on eight points from seven matches.
With Mohun Bagan announcing their merger with two-time ISL champions ATK, this was the penultimate derby in the I-League era. And Mohun Bagan made it special, winning their first derby since January 21, 2018 -- a 2-0 win in I-League. Since then Mohun Bagan had failed to win from four matches, including two in I-League.
There was a massive turnout with 63,756 fans attending the match. Crowds poured in hours before the start, holding placards and chanting the team slogans, making it a festive atmosphere at the iconic venue which will host the final I-league derby on March 15.
7:10 PM IST: Joseba Beitia and Baba Diawara scored to help clinical Mohun Bagan beat East Bengal 2-1 in the first Kolkata Derby of the I-League 2019-20 season at Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday. East Bengal pulled one back Marcos de la Espada producing a cool finish. With three points from the 'Boro Match,' Bagan have consolidated the spot with 17 points, six more than the second-placed Punjab FC. Both the sides have played eight games each. Meanwhile, East Bengal are in fifth with eight points from seven games.
Second-Half - Mohun Bagan 2-1 East Bengal
90+5' - East Bengal continue to search for the second equaliser, but they are too late. It's over. Mohun Bagan win the bragging rights.
90+4' - A goalmouth melee and the ball even hit the near upright. But the referee already blew his whistle, for offside. Marti Crespi Pascual takes control of the ball, and releases it for Kassim Aidara, but the later is offside.
90+3' - Jaime Santos Colado wins a foul. Dhanachandra Leihaorungbam, the culprit. Free kick for East Bengal.
90' - Lalrindika Ralte wins the ball from Joseba Beitia and shoots, but over the bar. Then, another attempt from East Bengal with Marcos de la Espada laying it for Jaime Santos Colado. Poor finish. Five minutes added on.
88' - And now, Mohun Bagan are enjoying a good spell. Then, East Bengal get their move. A long ball finds Jaime Santos Colado inside the Bagan ball, but Daneil Cyrus wins the ball and clears the threat away.
86' - In a while, Mohun Bagan players get to the other end of the pitch. In fact, a half-chance from a corner with Joseba Beitia, who else, curling a teaser.
85' - Lalramchullova brings down Juan Mera Gonzalez. Free kick for East Bengal. Jaime Santos Colado lets the ball fly and just misses the target on the far post. Mighty close.
83' - Sub for Mohun Bagan. Lalramchullova on for SK Sahil.
82' - SK Sahil gets a yellow. East Bengal are having their best period of play tonight. SK Sahil goes for a long ranger, but misses the target.
80' - Stunning strike from Juan Mera Gonzalez rattles the bar. No chance for Sankar Roy. And the ball rebounds for further drama. Mohun Bagan somehow manage to thwart the attack.
77' - East Bengal are doing everything to find the second equaliser. Marti Crespi Pascual misses a free header.
76' - Joseba Beitia on the ball and sends in a beautiful delivery, but Juan Mera Gonzalez blocks it. And another sub for Mohun Bagan. V.P. Suhair is replaced by Britto P M.
73' - Sad. Edmund Lalrindika limps off. Came and sets up a goal, then injures himself. He is replaced by Abhijit Sarkar.
71' - GOAL! What a play. East Bengal are back. Edmund Lalrindika finds Marcos de la Espada just outside the box with a brilliant through ball, and the later slots the ball past Sankar Roy with a cool finish.
68' - Gurjinder Kumar, just arrived and is already booked for bringing Juan Mera Gonzalez down. Then a very good chance for East Bengal. Messy work from Sankar Roy, and from the rebound, two East Bengal players mistime their kicks. Funny scenes.
65' - GOAL!!! What a header from Baba Diawara. The Senegalese climbs tall to connect Joseba Beitia's corner and buries it.
63' - Change for Mohun Bagan. Ashutosh Mehta, hamstrung and is replaced by Gurjinder Kumar. Meanwhile, Bagan are pressing hard for the second. Back to back corners. And the referee is once again call in to cool things down.
60' - Ashutosh Mehta needs some stretching. And sub for East Bengal. Edmund Lalrindika on debut, replaces Pintu Mahata. Then, there is a situation. Marcos de la Espada claims for a penalty but the referee on the spot. He obstructs Sankar Roy while going for the header. The Spaniard also handles the ball. Probably thinking of doing a Maradona.
57' - This is becoming physical. Kamalpreet Singh and Pintu Mahata body check Joseba Beitia as the Mohun Bagan frontman tries to run away with the ball. Free kick. And relief for Bagan.
56' - Nongdamba Naorem concedes a free-kick inside the defensive half. Lalrindika Ralte sends in a teasing ball, and clearance. But Juan Mera Gonzalez wins another foul. Free kick, and another Ralte delivery.
33' - Foul throw from an East Bengal player. But Mohun Bagan fail to make the most out it, end up only losing the possession.
52' - Kassim Aidara does well to win the ball back for East Bengal. A very good period of play for them. Moments ago, they had a crack at the goal with Juan Mera Gonzalez on the ball.
49' - Somehow, East Bengal are not able to make any meaningful move despite enjoying greater possession. Juan Mera Gonzalez on a solo run, then a wild attempt on the goal. Misses the target by a mile.
48' - Kassim Aidara concedes a foul. He pulls down Mohun Bagan captain Dhanachandra Leihaorungbam. Argues with the referee.
46' - East Bengal start the half confidently.
6:10 PM IST: Players are back for the second half.
5:57 PM IST: East Bengal got off to a very good start, then Mohun Bagan showed their class. Nongdamba Naorem and Joseba Beitia were brilliant. Nongdamba produced a blistering run then sets up an easy header for Beitia. East Bengal have their chances but, Bagan were the better side. In fact, then scored another one, only to be disallowed for off-side. Then, there was a very good save from Lalthuammawia Ralte to deny the Mariners a two-goal lead.
HT: @Mohun_Bagan go into the breather with a slender lead, thanks to @josebabeitia9 ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ»
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First-Half: Mohun Bagan 1-0 East Bengal
45+2' - Two minutes added on. East Bengal win a free-kick inside the Mohun Bagan half. Nothing from the set-piece. Foul given to an East Bengal forward. A long ball from Sankar Roy and it's half-time.
45' - Juan Mera Gonzalez starts a move, but Mohun Bagan win the possession back. A long throw-in from Dhanachandra Leihaorungbam to test Lalthuammawia Ralte. Bagan continue to press with Nongdamba Naorem on with a brilliant run. Wins a cross, then Baba Diawara's attempt from close quarters is palmed away by Lalthuammawia Ralte.
41' - Now, Kolkata Derby is on fire. Marti Crespi Pascual is booked, and everyone is involved in a melee. The referee takes control and match resumes.
39' - HUGE MOMENT! Mohun Bagan score again! No. Not given. Baba Diawara header beats Lalthuammawia Ralte, but it's from an off-side position.
37' - Fran Gonzalez becomes the first player to be booked tonight. A late tackle on Juan Mera Gonzalez. From the set-piece, Sankar Roy leaps to punch away the ball, then a massive mix up at the goalmouth. Lucky Mohun Bagan, not to have conceded the equaliser. Brilliant delivery though from Lalrindika Ralte.
34' - Now Juan Mera Gonzalez is everywhere. He tries to link up with Jaime Santos Colado, but the intended recipient is unaware of the move. And Mohun Bagan launches another attack.
33' - Juan Mera Gonzalez fails the control the ball and Mohun Bagan win the ball back, at the back. Juan Mera is living dangerously. Pushing and blocking. Free-kick to Mohun Bagan, and the league leaders quickly launch an attack.
31' - Dropped ball and Marti Crespi Pascual rolls back the ball. East Bengal having a little spell of possession.
29' - Jaime Santos Colado is back with a bandaged head. And quickly gets into the act. Wins a throw-in. Abhishek Ambekar on a run, then Dhanachandra Leihaorungbam and Colado get involved in a tussle. Referee stops the play.
28' - Jaime Santos Colado is having a medical attention. After the restart, SK Sahil wins a free-kick inside the East Bengal half. Then, another free-kick after a defender blocks Nongdamba Naorem's delivery. Joseba Beitia, on the set-piece, and he sends a skier.
24' - But East Bengal are not taking it lying down. Abhishek Ambekar wins the ball inside the attacking third, then sends in a delightful cross for Jaime Santos Colado, who collides with a defender. He's bleeding.
22' - Mohun Bagan are looking to kill off the contest here and now. And Joseba Beitia is everywhere. Another brilliant move from the Mariners.
19' - GOAL!!!! What a play from Nongdamba Naorem. The young Manipuri breaches East Bengal defence with a mazy run, then sends back lofted pass for Joseba Beitia from the byline, and the number 10 buries the ball past Lalthuammawia Ralte.
15' - Indian Messi, Nongdamba Naorem toys with Kamalpreet Singh near the byline, and win a corner for Mohun Bagan. Nothing comes off it though.
13' - What a chance! Some messy defending allows East Bengal test Mohun Bagan defence. Lalrindika Ralte wastes a clear header by lobbing the ball over the bar from a cross from the right.
12' - Fran Gonzalez bulldozes East Bengal defence then links up with Joseba Beitia, who sends in a cross. But Marti Crespi Pascual blocks it for a corner. Beitia's sends a brilliant delivery, but Mohun Bagan fail to make the most out of it.
9' - Mohun Bagan showing their confidence. High defensive line.
8' - East Bengal get a counter on and Juan Mera Gonzalez goes for a long ranger. Good drive. But Sankar Roy is up to to the task. Moments ago, Joseba Beitia toyed with East Bengal defenders with twists and turns.
6' - Joseba Beitia wins the ball and sets up V.P. Suhair with a brilliant through ball, but Lalthuammawia Ralte is alert. Takes control of the ball after leaving his line.
5' - First real move from Mohun Bagan, and Baba Diawara is caught offside. Good play from East Bengal defender Abhishek Ambekar.
3' - East Bengal enjoying a brilliant start. Juan Mera Gonzalez draws a foul and another free-kick for East Bengal.
2' - East Bengal start the proceedings and earn the first free-kick, then the first corner. What a start. From the corner, Marti Crespi Pascual almost beats Sankar Roy with a header.
5:00 PM IST: And its full house in Kolkata. Today's referee is Ajit Kumar Meitei from Manipur.
4:57 PM IST: But overall, according to information available on the public platform, is - East Bengal 129- 118 Mohun Bagan in 368 meetings. There were 121 draws too.
4:47 PM IST: Here's a quick look at the head-to-head (in I-League and NFL)
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4:30 PM IST: Line-ups are here
Mohun Bagan: Sankar Roy (1), Fran Morante (4), Ashutosh Mehta (6), Baba Diawara (9), Joseba Beitia (10), Nongdamba Naorem (16), V.P. Suhair (20), Dhanachandra Leihaorungbam (25), SK Sahil (27), Daneil Cyrus (45), Fran Gonzalez (50)
Subs: Debjit Majumder (24), Gurjinder Kumar (5), Komron Tursunov (7), Lalramchullova (15), Shilton Dsilva (26), Britto P M (33), Subha Ghosh (49)
East Bengal: Lalthuammawia Ralte (1); Kamalpreet Singh (5), Jaime Santos Colado (8), Pintu Mahata (11), Kassim Aidara (16), Marcos de la Espada (18), Lalrindika Ralte (20), Marti Crespi Pascual (21), Juan Mera Gonzalez (23), Abhishek Ambekar (27), Mehtab Singh (29)
Subs: Mirshad Michu (32), Asheer Akhtar (2), Abhijit Sarkar (7), Tondomba Naorem (14), Abhash Thapa (15), Edmund Lalrindika (17), Brandon Vanlalremdika (30)
4:22 PM IST: Here's what the coaches said before the match -
Mohun Bagan coach Kibu Vicuna: "We are coming from a good result. We are just focusing on tomorrow's game. The most important thing is to focus on our game. It is a very important game because we are playing against a very good team we will continue to give our best in the game. Every derby is a special game. The dynamics of the two teams are different but in the derbies everyone is equal. Not just Kolkata derby but this is true around the world. The good thing is we are in a good mood and we are focused on this match. That's all."
East Bengal coach Alejandro Menendez: "15 days ago, we were top of the table. It was almost one year without losing a game in I League. I think judging on two games is short perspective. You have to have a bigger picture. We lacked in certain situations. We made some mistakes at some moments but that happens."
4:17 PM IST: Come next season, Mohun Bagan will become ATK-Mohun Bagan, following their merger with the Indian Super League giants ATK. It will help the 130-year-old club compete in India's top-tier, but the move is a slap on football legacy, and certainly bad news for I-League.
4:11 PM IST: Team sheets will be available soon. Before that, have a look at this beautiful artwork from I-League:
Another chapter ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ in the history of this glorious fixture is set to be written today! ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¤©ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ¥
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Keep the merger away for a day and let the fans and players engage in the century-old rivalry which has defined India's sporting culture for ages. Over the course, this classic derby, as listed by the FIFA, has split not just Bengalis but Indians.
Coming to the match, Mohun Bagan have been the team to beat this season, with their solitary coming against Churchill Brothers at the Kalyani Stadium in December 2019. Since then, the Mariners have forged a five-game unbeaten run, winning four on the trot and earning a draw against Punjab FC in their previous outing.
East Bengal started the season on a brighter note, then since the turn of the year, they have lost two consecutive matches and are in fifth place, six points behind their arch-rivals, albeit with a game in hand.
Statistically, Mohun Bagan have the edge. They have scored the most goals in the league (12) and conceded the least (6), and they will be up against their rivals who have failed to register a single clean-sheet this term
But, not a single encounter between these two sides has ever been contested with numbers or on a piece of paper. The only statistic that is going to matter will be the score-line at the end match.