Calcutta Football League: East Bengal vs Mohun Bagan Match Preview

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“A historic derby match. A match which has meaning way beyond football. Of course, football is supreme,” the commentator added. There was a sense of anticipation and excitement along with restlessness and anxiety in the air. Since time immemorial, numerous fans from all generations either chock-a-block the stadium or remain glued to their TV screens to watch this historic derby match and more than 1,30,000 spectators were in the stadium on that day i.e. on 13th July, 1997 to witness another chapter of the glorious “Kolkata Derby”. Ninety minutes from then, one part of Bengal was celebrating while the other part was deep in gloom.

This derby is so much embedded in a Bengali household that the result affects the sale of Hilsa fish or Prawns on a match day. We can see that the history, importance and rivalry of this match are no less than any other derby around the world.

The Kolkata derby is listed in FIFA’s classic derbies and is one of Asia’s biggest derby, always attracting big crowds. The iconic FourFourTwo magazine ranks it in the 21st position in the list of top 50 derbies around the world and highest in Asia.

Another fiesty competition awaits and both teams will be hoping for a perfect Durga Puja gift for their respective supporters, nothing less than a victory.

Match Details

Date :- Sunday, September 24

Time :- 17:00 ( IST )

Venue :- Kanchenjunga Stadium, Shiliguri, West Bengal, INDIA

TV Details :- Kolkata TV

Team Form

East Bengal :-

East Bengal stretched their unbeaten streak in this year’s CFL to eight matches with a thumping 5-0 win over Tollygunge Agragami on Tuesday night.

Questions were raised when East Bengal lost 2-0 to Mohun Bagan A.C. in the semi-finals of the Federation Cup, after an another disappointing I-League campaign, but the Red and Golds have been in wonderful form since then – winning 7 of their 8 CFL games while drawing one.

Khalid Jamil’s side opened their CFL campaign with a convincing 4-1 victory over Rainbow before putting two unanswered goals past Calcutta Customs. East Bengal continued their fine form by thrashing Peerless 5-1in the third match of the CFL.

Then came back-to-back 3-0 wins over Southern Samity and Railway, before squeezing past Patha Chakra by 2-1. East Bengal’s 100% record in CFL was halted by Mohammedan, who looked all set to seal three valuable points against East Bengal before Plaza struck in the closing minutes of the game. Plaza scored in the dying minutes of the game to level the scoreline at 2-2 and salvage a point for the Red and Golds.

As mentioned, Khalid Jamil’s side will enter this weekend’s match off the back of a 5-0 win over Tollygunge Agragami.

This weekend will mark a historic match against Mohun Bagan A.C., with the Red and Golds being in the pole position to win the CFL – for the 8th consecutive year – as they have a better Goal Difference than their eternal rivals. But, Khalid Jamil has made it clear that his side will play fearlessly and will settle for nothing less than a win.

Mohun Bagan A.C. :-

Mohun Bagan stretched their unbeaten streak in this year’s CFL to eight matches with a 2-1 win over Peerless on Tuesday night.

Questions were also raised on Mohun Bagan when they put up a dismal performance against Bengaluru FC in the Federation Cup – which Bengaluru won , courtesy two extra time goals – but the Mariners have been in wonderful form since then – winning 7 of their 8 CFL games while drawing one.

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Indeed, Mohun Bagan started their CFL campaign with two back-to-back 3-0 wins over Southern Samity and Railway, before thumping Patha Chakra by 5-2.

Then came two back-to-back 2-0 victories over Calcutta Customs and Tollygunge Agragami. Mohun Bagan’s winning run then came to a sudden halt as produced an unlikely draw against Rainbow.

Next up was the ‘Mini Kolkata Derby’ as Shankarlal’s side locked horns against Mohammedan. Azharuddin Mullick’s brace helped Mohun Bagan beat Mohammedan Sporting 2-1 in the first ‘Mini Kolkata Derby’ of the Calcutta Football League (CFL). The win took Mohun Bagan to 19 points from seven outings and kept their title hopes alive.

Shankarlal Chakraborty made several changes in the Mohun Bagan starting XI from their disappointing outing against Rainbow AC. Nikhil Kadam featured on the right flank replacing Chesterpaul Lyngdoh and Arijit Bagui replaced Sarthak Golui. Shilton Paul too returned from injury and slotted back into the team in place of Shibinraj.

Mohammedan took the lead in the 21st minute from Sk. Faiaz’s strike. The in-form winger netted the opening goal from Dipendu Dowary’s cross from the right side. The Bagan defenders were caught napping inside the box.

Mohun Bagan got numerous opportunities to equalise thereafter but Mohammedan custodian Shankar Roy’s brilliance between the sticks restricted them. Relief was felt in the Bagan camp in the 37th minute when Azharuddin Mullick scored the equaliser from Stephane Bayi Kamo’s pass. It was a stalemate at half time.

The Green and Maroons started the second half on a positive note as they looked hungry for the second goal. Bayi Kamo and Ansumana Kromah launched a series of attacks at the opponents’ goal but defenders Rana Gharami and Richard Agwu stood firm to deny them from scoring.

In the 92nd minute, much to the Mohun Bagan fans’ relief Azharuddin Mullick completed his brace by heading in a Chesterpaul Lyngdoh cross to gift his side crucial three points.

As mentioned, the Mariners will enter this weekend’s match off the back of a 2-1 win over Peerless.

The biggest derby of Asia is interestingly poised as East Bengal requires a point in order to bag the crown for the eighth consecutive time. On the contrary it is a must win situation for the Mariners on Sunday evening. The teams are locked at 22 point at the end of eighth round, but East Bengal are in an advantageous position with the better goal difference than the Green and Maroons.

Team News

East Bengal :-

Khalid Jamil is likely to field Arnab, Rafique and the two foreigners in the starting XI in tomorrow’s mega-derby. Plaza will accompany Joby Justin up front and he would be a good alternative for VP Suhair who is still not fit to play. Carlyle Mitchell and Arnab Mondal will likely pair up in central defence replacing Gurwinder and Mehtab Singh. East Bengal defenders will be tested against Mohun Bagan’s attacking duo of Kromah and Kamo.

Mohun Bagan :-

Azharuddin Mallick, promising left winger of Mohun Bagan has a slight pain in his knee due to enlargement of bone. Another young midfielder, Shilton D Silva is suffering from his old hamstring injury. Although both the players have travelled with the team to Shiliguri, Shankarlal Chakraborty is keeping central midfielder Surchandra Singh and winger Nikhil Kadam ready in case of emergency.

Bikramjit Singh will be replaced by experienced Kingshuk Debnath. Left back Ricky will also feature in this match after missing the previous match for receiving two yellow cards in two consecutive matches.

Likely Line-ups

East Bengal :- Barreto, Chulova, Mitchell, Arnab, Salam, Brandon, Rafique, Ralte, Plaza, Joby Justin.

Mohun Bagan A.C. :- Shilton Pal, Abhishek, Kingsley, Kingshuk, Ricky, Chesterpaul, Raynier, Surchandra Singh; Azharuddin, Kamo, Kromah.

This match will divide the whole Bengal into two halves. This match will seperate husbands and wives, brothers and sisters for 90 minutes. For 90minutes the adrenaline level of crores of supporters will be at their peak.