Welcome to Sportstar’s highlights of the Kolkata derby, the Indian Super League match between East Bengal FC and ATK Mohun Bagan being played at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata.
Match report: ATK Mohun Bagan ends league stage with a 2-0 Kolkata derby win over East Bengal
Petratos tries to win the ball off Rakip and in his bid, hits the EBFC player on the head by mistake. Meanwhile both teams makes changes in its 11. Doherty replaces Lima for East Bengal while Nassiri replaces Boumous for Mohun Bagan.
Easy Bengal looks like a piece of broken lego blocks with opportunities one after the other in the final third, but not a single shot on target. The corner kick is finally cleared by ATK Mohun Bagan.
East Bengal looks to find some joy with passing play and Sarthak Golui gets the ball along the right flank and he wastes that opportunity with an absolutely wayward hit. Constantine looks furious immediately subs him off with Sumeet Passi replacing the full-back.
Dimitrios is wide over after he makes a run behind the EBFC defence. He then beats his marker, but the linesman already has his flag up and the Australian is not impressed with the decision at all.
Shot! Jerry shoots for East Bengal as the host looks for a quick equaliser and Vishal Kaith, the leader in the Golden Glove race, makes another good save to deny a goal to East Bengal.
Ashique and Lalchungnunga have been a joy to watch, in terms of contest as the latter, yet again, stops the Kerala boy’s attempts to start another attack along the wings.
Change for ATK Mohun Bagan! Off: Glan Martins, On: Puitea
Boumous gets the ball from Ashique and he dances along the left flank, beats two markers and earns a corner kick for his team after the ball goes out off an EBFC defender. However, nothing substantial comes out of the set-piece opportunity.
Boumous draws defenders to him to release Petratos, but his cross, first blocked, reaches Ashique, who tries a cross, which is agains cleared for a corner kick. Kamaljit catches the corner easily to finally end the string of attacks by Juan Ferrando’s side.
East Bengal decides to attack on the other side and Suhair makes a run along the right flank. He spins beautifully and marches up the pitch but if fouled by Subhasish. The free-kick, taken by Alex, is eventually cleared by ATK Mohun Bagan.
Pritam Kotal sets up Ashique along the left flank and the winger marauds into the final third. However, timely defending by Lalchungnunga sees the ball go out of danger as ATKMB loses another opportunity to score.
ATK Mohun Bagan stets up another attack when Damjanovic delivers a long ball for Ashique in the EBFC box. East Bengal clears it away, only as far as Glan, who is then fouled by East Bengal.
Petratos curs in a ball, which is then headed to Ashique. Sarthak tries to get the ball and ends up fouling him and he, too, gets a yellow card. The free kick that follows has Petratos deliver the ball in, which is eventually cleared out of danger.
Manvir and Jerry get into a challenge, with the former fouling Jerry and a foul that follows sees an angry Alex Lima protest about the referee. He, too, is greeted with a yellow card.
Ashique tries a run along the left flank and he goes to ground after what looked like a pull from Suhair The referee, however, disagrees. Seconds later, Boumous goes to the ground appealing for a foul, but he is also not given any reply to those appeals. Instead, the referee books him for his vehement protests after no free-kick was given.
Save! Asish Rai tries a shot from outside the box and the ball, after a deflection, is on target. But Kamaljit makes a good save to deny the opening goal - a breakthrough in this thoroughly tight contest.
Cleiton Silva tries to make a forward run, avoids a push from Glan Martins, but fails to retain the ball the other time. Meanwhile Suhair gets the ball along the right wing and whips in a ball for Cleiton in the centre. But the Brazilian fails to find a header.
Mahesh turns in a feeder now and delivers a floated curling cross from the left for Jervis. But Subhasish intercepts on time to head the ball away.
Miss! East Bengal attacks with a quick win of the ball by Suhaor along the right flank. He snatches the ball off ATKMB and crosses for Mahesh in the centre, but a poor shot from Mahesh sees the ball fly off-target. What a misses opportunity for the home team!
ATK Mohun Bagan fans stand up for another scurry of attacks with Glan Martins releasing Petratos. The Australian tries a side-step, but is surrounded by two EBFC defenders and losing the ball eventually.
East Bengal starts an attack on the counter with Naorem getting the ball through into the midfield, to Lalchungnunga. The defender now makes an important run to take it into the ATKMB final third, but Asish Rai puts up a great challenge to thwatr that attack.
East Bengal is caught napping at the other end when a back pass from the midfield is open for Petratos. The ATKMB forward makes a run, but is beaten by Lalchungnunga.
Chance for East Bengal! Mobashir threads in a through ball for Suhair and Subhasish tracks back, Suhair tries to control the ball but slips on the field as Bose eventually clears the ball.
Boumous tries to dance along the left wing and is pushed down by Suhair for another set-piece opportunity. EBFC, however, clears the ball which was sent in by Petratos.
Foul! Boumous steps up the pitch gets the ball forward and the ball moves to Ashique after a touch from Gallego. Ashique tries to run into the box through the centre and Lalchungnunga fouls the former BFC man with a sliding challenge. Petratos takes the free kick and te ball flies over the net.
Ashique carries the ball for Mohun Bagan, tries to supply a cross for Dimitrios who had made a run in the box, but Kamaljit intercepts to keep the score locked at 0-0.
ATK Mohun Bagan continues to create chances! Ashique makes a run along the left flank, side-steps his marker and shoots off-target. The corner that follows sees Kotal gets the ball from a corner kick, but his volley flies over the net.
Chance! Mohun Bagan attack with a long ball approach, with Asish Rai sending a long ball into the EBFC half, but Kamaljit runs out of the box and clears just on time to end a chance for the Mariners to score.
ATK Mohun Bagan has started on the attack right from the beginning, pressing high up the pitch and Manvir finally gets the ball in the box after making a run behind the defence, but Lima traps Manvir in the off-side trap.
7:00 pm - What happened when ATK Mohun Bagan last faced East Bengal?
In the last Kolkata derby, ATK Mohun Bagan beat East Bengal 2-0, with goals from Hugo Boumous and Manvir Singh. In fact, the Mariners have won all six of the last Kolkata derbies in the Indian Super League.
The prospect of the oldest and the most followed rivalry in Indian football – the Kolkata derby featuring ATK Mohun Bagan and East Bengal – is getting the city’s football aficionados back in combat mode after a gap of almost four months.
Happening at the end of the ISL-9 league fixtures, there remains hardly anything at stake for the traditional rivals. But the match at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday is expected to bring up a surfeit of passion as the two sides fight for honour, the essential ingredient that has given the rivalry its impetus and appeal for more than a century.
On the performance front this season, ATK Mohun Bagan has already booked a berth in the knock-out phase amassing 31 points from 19 matches, while East Bengal (19 from 19) has seen its hopes evaporate long ago as it remained consigned to the bottom half of the league standings.
ATK Mohun Bagan can still improve its position (currently at fourth) in the league standing if it manages to win while East Bengal looks to avenge the 2-0 defeat it suffered in the first meeting in the last week of October.
Both sides have won their last outings as ATKMB beat Kerala Blasters at home while East Bengal upstaged the League Shield winner Mumbai City FC 1-0 in the latter’s backyard.
This sets up an interesting clash as East Bengal gained in strength, making important signings in the January transfer window while ATKMB lies weakened somewhat losing some of its key foreigners to injuries in different stages of the tournament.
This has seen the green-and-maroon boat drifting off course in the final stages as it managed to win just one in its last four appearances. The win in question came against the Blasters in the previous round.
The man who got both the goals for ATKMB, Carl McHugh, will be an unlikely starter as the Irishman is yet to regain full fitness. And with Australian centre-back Brendan Hamill suspended, ATKMB head coach Juan Ferrando will have to reorganize his defensive strategy around the Montenegrin import Slavko Damjanovic, who has primarily worked as a substitute ever since he was signed in the January window.
“Our focus is on winning the match and getting the three points. We are not thinking about the third and fourth position,” Ferrando said.
“For us, it is not important who scores for the team. The most important aspect for us is controlling the spaces when we attack and doing the same while defending. All players working in tandem is good for the team,” Ferrando added while hoping for the first back-to-back win in the second phase of the tournament. The ATKMB attack has hit the doldrums in the second phase where the team won just three out of the nine appearances.
The Mariners have the worst goal-scoring record (22 from 19) among the top-six teams who have made it to the next round.
Unlike its city rival, East Bengal showed remarkable improvement in the last four rounds, where it has lost just once. The introduction of the English striker Jake Jarvis alongside the Brazilian forward Cleiton Silva has greatly helped the team in making the turnaround, which now seems to have come a bit too late.
What will be motivating East Bengal ahead of the important clash is the fact that when it beat a second-string Mumbai City FC at the latter’s home in the previous outing, the Torch Bearers became the only team to pick up all three points from the Mumbai Football Arena this season. Cleiton has scored 12 goals so far and is level with compatriot Diego Mauricio of Odisha FC in the Golden Boot race.
“We are as prepared as we can be for this game. We had a fantastic result last week against Mumbai, where we stopped their unbeaten run at home and also prevented them from scoring,” said East Bengal head coach Stephen Constantine. “It was a good day for us last week and We are confident ahead of the next game. We will be fighting for all three points,” he added.
-Amitabh Das Sharma