I-league: Mohun Bagan vs Kingfisher East Bengal: Kolkata Derby Match preview

Kolkata derby
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If you were called upon to construct the ideal derby, your ingredients might be as follows: longevity, mutual national pre-eminence, a historical schism, legendary venues, breathtaking tifos, comic escapades and recent beefs. No need to get inventive: just get to Kolkata.

It’s big news when these two colossi of Kolkata collide. They share the 85,000 capacity Salt Lake Stadium and the derby can fill it; the record attendance, in 1997, was 131,000. And it’s all because a player didn’t get picked once. When local club Jora Bagan decided to exclude their half-back Sailesh Bose for a game in 1920, it annoyed the club’s vice-president – a rich industralist called Suresh Chandra Chaudhuri – so much that he set up a new outfit.

He and his co-founders called it East Bengal, after the nearby region they hailed from – essentially the modern-day Bangladesh. This led to something of a social schism between the clubs. The upstarts East Bengal became identified with immigrants and soon separatism, pitted against Mohun Bagan – India’s oldest club, established in 1889 when the city then called Calcutta was the capital of the British Raj. Time and independence (India’s, then Bangladesh’s) somewhat faded those geopolitical divisions, but the result never stopped mattering.

This derby is so much embedded in a Bengali household that the results affects the sale of Hilsa fish or Prawns on a match day. The Kolkata Derby is listed in FIFA’s classic derbies and is 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.

The high-voltage Kolkata Derby will come early this time and kick off at the unusual 2 P.M. on Sunday.

Match Details :-

Date :- December 3, 2017

Time :- 14:00 ( IST )

Venue :- Vivekananda Yubha Bharati Krirangan ( Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata )

TV Details :- Star Sports 2 // Star Sports 2 HD

Live Stream :- Jio TV App // Hotstar

Match Preview :-

Mohun Bagan have a lot to prove when they host East Bengal at the Vivekananda Yubha Bharati Krirangan on Sunday in their second game of the 2017/18 edition of I-League.

The Green and Maroons enter the match following a 1-1 draw against Minerva Punjab FC; after the latter scored a late equaliser. Sanjay Sen will have to find ways to cope without many key players – who were instrumental in Bagan’s success in recent years – after they decided to ply their trade in the money-spinning ISL.

Meanwhile, East Bengal are much-changed under coach Khalid Jamil. New signings such as Al-Amna and former Bagan midfield starlet Katsumi could help stifle a Bagan team likely to be nervy in front of their supporters following their poor display of football against Minerva Punjab.

The Mariners have very little amount of time to rectify their errors before battling it out against eternal rivals East Bengal. The Green and Maroons looked clueless while playing against Minerva Punjab and were no match for the hosts in the second half of the opening game of the season.

East Bengal have their fair share of problems too, as the Red and Golds conceded in a dramatic manner in the dying minutes to share the spoils with Aizawl. East Bengal were lucky to score both the goals against Aizawl and were extremely poor while defending the set pieces. East Bengal also need to sharpen their finishing skill, as Plaza’s struggle with the ball in the final third was exposed once again.

Sanjoy Sen needs to adjust his direct style to suit a squad expected to play in an expansive and free-flowing manner. It’s no easy task, though—not when this Mohun Bagan team lacks the talent of previous vintages.

Not only are the Mariners weaker after losing Jeje, Balwant and several other key players to the money spinner Indian Super League. The club has also suffered without a talisman in midfield since the departure of Katsumi, earlier this year.

The latter is a problem Sanjay Sen will hope the recent signing of Kromah and Shilton D’Silva will solve despite the former coming under heavy criticism from fans due to his showboating habits.

Things won’t be easy against a East Bengal side loaded with astute summer signings. Sony Norde’s task of carrying the burden for Mohun Bagan won’t get any easier without Yusa. Offsetting the losses of key players could prove impossible and leave Norde bereft of supply. The onus will be on understudies Azharuddin, Shilton D’Silva, Kromah and Dicka to produce.

Team News :-

Mohun Bagan:

Yuto Kinowaki remains doubtful and is likely to watch the action from the sidelines.

Diego Pereira may make his Bagan debut on Sunday. He along with Shilton D’Silva may provide some much needed stability in the midfield for Mohun Bagan.

Azharuddin is likely to replace Lyngdoh along the right flank on Sunday.

East Bengal :-

No major injury and suspension issues for the Red and Golds.

Coach Khalid Jamil fielded the team in a 4-2-3-1 formation with three debutants in the starting XI against Aizawl. Defenders Mehtab Singh, Deepak K. and goalkeeper Mirshad K. made their I-League debuts for the Red and Golds. Jamil will be expected to field the same line-up against Mohun Bagan.

Mohammed Rafique and Armand Bazzou were deployed as the central midfielders with Mahmoud Al Amna, Katsumi Yusa and Brandon Vanlalremdika upfront. Willis Plaza was designated the role of the lone striker while Salam Ranjan Singh partnered Eduardo Ferreira at the heart of the defense.

Likely Line-ups :-

Mohun Bagan A.C. ( 4-2-3-1 ) :- Shilton; Ricky, Kingshuk, Kingsley, Bagui; Shilton D’Silva, Diego Pereira; Sony Norde, Kromah, Azharuddin; Dicka.

East Bengal ( 4-2-3-1 ) :- Mirshad; Mehtab Singh, Salam Ranjan, Eduardo, Deepak; Rafique, Bazzou; Al-Amna, Katsumi, Brandon Vanlalremdika; Plaza.