Mohun Bagan takes all three points to consolidate its position at the top of the table, increasing its lead over Punjab FC to six points. East Bengal stays fifth with the defeat.
90′ Five minutes added at the end of the first half.
89′ Kamalpreet sends a cross to Espada, who lays it off for Jaime Colado. But the final show is well over the crossbar.
87′ Didika steals the ball off Beitia and shots well over the bar.
84′ Right after coming on, Chullova brings down Juan Mera to give away another free-kick. Jaime Colado takes it and is inches wide of the post. That was so so close. Mohun Bagan’s resolute defending has gone out of the window this half. East Bengal is all over it right now.
83′ Mohun Bagan’s final substitution sees Sheik Sahil replace Lalramchullova.
81′ Sheikh Sahil picks up a yellow card for a foul on Juan Mehra. The freekick falls to Abhijit Sarkar whose shot is deflected out for a corner.
79′ Juan Mera sends a piledrive from 30 yards out that bounces off the bar. That wouldv’ve been the goal of the season had it gone in!
78′ Kamalpreet sends a cross from the right and Marcos’ header is straight at Sankar Roy.
77′ Didika Ralte’s curling cross is almost headed in by Marti Crespi! Replays shows that it should’ve been a corner to East Bengal but the referee has given a corner. For probably the first time in this game, East Bengal is truly on top. Possession, passes, crosses and just about everything going right for it.
76′ Another substitution for Mohun Bagan. P. M. Britto replaces V. P. Suhair.
75′ Abhijit brings down Diawara and from the freekick Beitia sends in a curling ball that Mera intercepts and clears.
74′ East Bengal forced into another substitution as Edmund Lalrindika, who came on as a substitute and set up the goal, foes out limping. Abhijit Sarkar replaces him.
72′ GOAL! Edmund Lalrindika shows his class with a delightful through ball to Marcos Espada who shoots low to the keeper’s rght to reduce Mohun Bagan’s lead. We have a game on our hands now!
67′ Didika Ralte sends in a curling free-kick which Sankar Roy unconvincingly fists away. Crespi fails to shoot into empty net and the ball is cleared before Edmund gets to it.
64′ GOAL! Baba Diawara has doubled Mohun Bagan’s lead with a fantastic header from Beitia’s corner. The Bagan fans make their voice heard before the Spanaird took the corner and the goal has taken the noise to another level!
63′ Mohun Bagan makes a substitution now. Ashutosh Mehta is replaced by Gurjinder Kumar.
61′ Edmund Lalrindika wins aocrner and asks the fans to cheer their team annd he gets a HUGE ROAR from them. My word that was some responce from the faithful.
60′ A ball over the Mohun Bagan defence finds Marcos who uses his hands while trying to head it. He is brought down after that by Sankar Roy and there are huge appeals for a penalty. The referee gives a freekick to Bagan and that’s the right call.
59′ Substitution for East Bengal. Edmund Lalrindika comes on for Pintu Mahata. That’s a like-for-like change on the right wing.
58′ And now Ashutosh Mehta is is on the ground. Looks like cramps.
57′ East Bengal has Mohun Bagan pinned in and around its box for a few mintues now. They have done everything to get the equaliser but the defending from Bagan has been resolute.
56′ Juan Gonzalez’s feet are too quick for Suhair, who ends up fouling him in his eagerness to win the ball. Ralte on the ball again and Mohun Bengal clear it again.
55′ Nongdamba Naorem blocks Kamalpreet Singh on the right and a good position for Lalrindika Ralte to curl a cross in. Papa Diawara, back defending, clears it for a corner.
50′ Ashutosh Mehta is brought down on an attack and the referee waves play on to the surprise of the right back. At the other end, East Bengal’s counter-attack is stopped as Espada’s pass to Jaime is intercepted by Beitia.
47′ Kassim Aidara brings down Dhanachandra Singh and Beitia is ready over the ball for the free kick. East Bengal clears it and Pintu Mahata’s counter-attck is stopped by Dhanachandra Singh. That was almost a body check!
46′ Pintu Mahata with a brillaint cross immediately and Sankar Roy lets it go for a goal kick.
46′ Here we go. Final 45 minutes of this Kolkata Derby. Can East Bengal get backinto this game?
HALF TIME The referee blows his whistle and an entertaining first half comes to an end. We’ve had end-to-end action and this match is far from over. We’ll be back in fifteen minutes for what promises to be a thrilling second half.
45′ Two minutes have been added at the end of the first half.
45′ Beautiful save from Lalthuammawia Ralte to deny Mohun Bagan a second goal! Diawara get the ball from a corner, turns and shoots on target but the keeper makes a superb save to deny him his maiden I-Legue goal. That was almost a point-blank save.
44′ Dhanachandra’s long throw-in goes out of play without a touch.
42′ Suhair sends a through ball to Mehta but he fails to control the ball and his cross goes out of play.
41′ Ouch! That a a reckless challenge from Marti Crespi and he picks up a yellow card.
40′ Pintu Mahata runs into the box from the right but Naorem makes a beautiful challenge to stop him. It was inside the box and would’ve been a penalty if he didn;t get that tackle right.
39′ Mohun Bagan has the ball in the net but the goal won’t stand. Suhair’s header was on target but Papa Diawara gets a touch while in an offside position.
37′ Francisco Gonzalez gets a yellow card for a challenge from behind on Juan Gonzalez. Lalrindika Ralte takes the freekick and Sankar Roy makes a mess of it. He failes to catch it and it falls to Mehtab Singh, whose effort is blocked on the line by Daniel Cyrus. Kassim Aidara gets the rebound and sends in a cross that Jaime fails to connect.
35′ And as I said that, Kassim Aidara gave the ball away and Nongdamba Naorem almost made the most of it. He makes space for a shot at the edge of the box but it is blocked by Marti Crespi.
34′ After the frantic start, and the goal, the game has understandably slowed down a bit in the last five minutes.
29′ Colado is back on the pitch.
28′ Pintu Mahata uses his hands to block a cross. He is lucky to not see a yellow there but Bagan has a freekick. Joseba Beitia takes it but his effort sails way over the goal.
25′ Abhishek Ambekar dances past Ashutosh Mehta and his cross, aimed at Jaime Colado, is cleared by Dhanachandra Singh. There’s stop in play as Colado’s head is bleeding from that challenge. He is off the pitch no and a lot of bandage is being rolled around his head. The good news is that he seems alright to continue.
24′ Mohun Bagan loves to press high and Joseba Beitia’s persistence wins the ball back.
23′ Mohun Bagan wins a free kick on the right. Who won it? Yup, you guessed right. Ashutosh Mehta it is. The ball is rather easily cleared though.
22′ Joseba Beitia is being a huge problem for East Bengal. The free role afforded to him is making it difficult for anyone to mark him.
18′ GOAL! Joseba Beitia puts Mohun Bagan ahead! Nongdamba Naorem wiggles into the box and his cross is puched away by the keeper – to Beitia. He is unmarked and he buries his header beyond the keeper’s reach. Crowd goes crazy and he runs towards them, dedicating the goal to the supporters.
17′ Ashutosh Mehta finds himself outside the East Bengal box again and this time he goes for goal rather than a pass. Easy catch for Lalthuammawia Ralte.
15′ Nongdamba Naorem with brilliant footwork to get into the box on the byline but couldn’t get his pass beyond outstretched legs of the defenders. The corner is cleared away to safety.
14′ Pintu Mahata with a delightful ball into the box which is headed wide by Lalrindika Ralte. Looks to the referee for a penalty but the challenge on his was fair.
11′ Francisco Gonzalez with a delightful throughball to Suhair, who runs into the box and sees his cross cleared by Marti Crespi for a corner – which comes to nothing.
8′ Ashutosh Mehta is finding a lot of freedom on the right flank. His low cross into the box is cleared by the East Bengal defence but he’s someone QEB should keep a close eye on.
7′ VP Suhair gets the ball on the right from Beitia and his long ball into the box is easily collected by Ralte. And thirty seconds later, Beitia is on the other flank and finds his ball over the defence cleared with a last-ditch attempt.
5′ Beautiful through ball from Joseba Beitia to find Papa Diawara who was marginally offside. Good call from the linesman.
3′ Ashutosh Mehta fouls Juan Gonzalez and an early free-kick for East Bengal. That could’ve been a yellow card if that foul was made anytime later.
2′ And at the other end, Joseba Beitia gets to a lay-off but sees his shot blocked.
1′ Less then a minute in and East Bengal has the first corner of the game already. It comes to nothing but that’s good attacking intent right from the start.
KICKOFF East Bengal gets the match started.
— If you haven’t heard, this is the penultimate I-League clash between the Kolkata giants. The reverse fixture is on March 15, mark your calenders. If East Bengal doesn’t follow Mohun Bagan into the Indian Super League, this derby would restricted only to cup competitions and the Calcutta Football League from next season.
Mohun Bagan is unbeaten in the last five league matches. Its four-match winning run, however, was halted by Punjab FC in its last match. Set-piece defending has been a big problem for Bagan this season. In fact, the goal it conceded against Bagan was from a corner.
East Bengal has tasted two back-to-back defeats coming into this game. It lost its first match of the season to Churchill Brothers and then got thrashed 1-3 at home by Gokulam Kerala. While it has conceded eight games so far, converting chances has also been a big problem.
Bagan currently leads the table, with 14 points from seven games. A win today will see it go six points clear of Punjab FC. East Bengal is fifth, with eight points after six games. A win by a one-goal margin see it move up the table to third, while a bigger margin could see it move second.
Total matches so far: 368. Of then, East Bengal has won 129 games while Mohun Bagan won 118. And 121 games have ended in a draw.
Fun fact: The earliest recorded match between the two giants took place in August 1921.
Several footballers have played for both these clubs in their career. Our correspondent, Aashin Prasad, caught up with Sukumar Samajpati whose experience at Mohun Bagan has left him dealing with a bitter aftertaste. From his thoughts on the legendary rivalry and why he’s always going to be an East Bengal man, here’s the full chat with the veteran footballer on our special podcast – Talktime
The elephant in the room – Bagan-ATK merger
Ahead of the game, the one thing everyone is talking about now is the Mohun Bagan- ATK merger and the former’s consequent migration to the Indian Super League next season. This also means the end of a longstanding rivalry, at least in the I-League between two legendary clubs. The merger announcement has seen its fair share of praise and brickbats but, as Renedy Singh puts it, there is a larger picture at play here and it might just be a lot more positive than we give it credit to be. Here’s what the former Bagan midfielder said.
Meanwhile, at the end of it, it is but a derby and the excitement will hit fever pitch as teams kickoff at 5pm. Jamshedpur FC keeper, Subrata Paul, who has played for both teams said, “You cannot predict the winner in a Kolkata Derby. The result depends on how you perform in the 90 minutes. The form of the teams before the derby game doesn’t count.”
Remember this is a rescheduled fixture. The AIFF did not specify any reason behind postponing the December 22 match, but sources in the apex body put it down to the CAB protests and the resulting volatility in the state.
The oldest club rivalry of the continent will be seeing another chapter getting added to its long and interesting history when the city giants Mohun Bagan and East Bengal face off for the 368th occasion (in 99 years), at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday. With Mohun Bagan migrating to next season’s ISL announcing a merger with the former champion ATK, this probably will be the last Kolkata derby of the I-League.
There is another derby scheduled in the return phase of the I-League but that match is unlikely to be held in the city or the Salt Lake Stadium as its host East Bengal is reportedly looking for a cheaper alternative outside the city.
On the count of performance this season, Mohun Bagan is enjoying the momentum currently having won four, drawn two and lost just one in its last seven outings. This makes Bagan the current league leader and it will be looking to forge ahead this advantage against its traditional rival.
Interestingly, Mohun Bagan’s only loss so far has been against Churchill Brothers, which happened more than a month ago on December 8. Ever since, the Green and Maroon brigade under its Spanish coach Kibu Vicuna, has won four and drawn one in an unbeaten run extending for the last five matches.
For East Bengal the path so far has been quite bumpy as the team progressed haltingly winning two, drawing two and losing as many to tally eight points from six matches.
East Bengal, also managed by a Spanish coach in Alejandro Menendez, started the season well and the team enjoyed a brief stay on top of the standings. Things started going wrong in the new year as the team suffered consecutive defeats and lost its preeminent status to drop down to its present fifth position.
After a fairly moderate performance in the local Calcutta Football League, where it lost the crown to unheralded Peerless SC, Mohun Bagan seemed to have stepped on the gas when it came to performing in the national format.
The team has struck a nice balance with its young domestic recruits like Nongdamba Naorem , Subha Ghosh and Sheikh Sahil combining well with its foreign recruits like Fran Gonzalez and the play-maker Joseba Beitia.
East Bengal is yet to find the right combination among its ranks and hope that the likes of Jaime Colado and Juan Mera tilt the balance in favour of the Red and Golds with their creative abilities. When it comes to the duel in the midfield, East Bengal may be enjoying a little edge with the creative Spaniards showing nice consistency so far. The last time the two met was in the CFL earlier in the season and the result was a bland 0-0.
“I think every derby is a special game. The dynamics of both teams are very different, but when a derby arrives, the previous statistics do not count much making everything more or less equal,” Vicuna said ahead of the match. “It is about all the derbies in the world. It doesn’t matter if you are first or second or fourth. The team is doing pretty well but the important thing is to remain focused,” he dded.
“In a derby it hardly matters how teams arrive at the match. We have had some issues in the season with injuries to some key players causing problems but we are still confident. We are going to give a good fight on Sunday,” said Alejandro Menendez, giving out East Bengal’s position ahead of the big match.