2021 will mark the 100th anniversary of the first Kolkata derby. The first match between the two Kolkata giants was held on August 8, 1921, in the Coochbehar Cup. The match ended in a 0-0 draw.
The teams last met back in November in the reverse fixture which the Mariners won 2-0. Then both the teams’ season panned out very differently. The Mariners are currently on top of the table with the Red and Golds at ninth.
ATK Mohun Bagan vs SC East Bengal Preview:
Mohun Bagan have been scoring freely in their last few games. This will relieve their coach Antonio Habas. They scored 10 goals in the last four games whereas they scored 10 in the previous 11 games. So definitely it shows the strength in their attack.
Also, their defence is the best in the league. They conceded only 10 goals in 17 games, 5 less than any other side. This goes to show how balanced the Mariners are. Habas’s side have a great opportunity to finish at the summit and qualify for the AFC Champions League group stages next season. They will be high on confidence and want to solidify their place at the top with a victory on Friday.
On the other hand, East Bengal have kept only three clean sheets all season and conceded 22 goals. But that is not their main problem. They only scored 15 times this season, second-lowest behind eighth-place Chennaiyin FC.
The Red and Golds were poor throughout the season and lacked the confidence and flair required. They had a very short pre-season and also a few players suffered injuries. Moreover, head coach Robbie Fowler is also at fault for this. He has not been able to find his best playing combination which frustrated their faithful supporters. Their decisions regarding transfers were also questionable.
Fowler was also disappointed with the results and lashed at the Indian referees which led to his 4-match ban which will be served after the derby. Although they have had so many problems throughout the season, they have stayed together and promised their fans that they will fight for the badge till the end. This will certainly encourage the fans of this prestigious club.
From the Managers:
Antonio Habas tried to release the tension by labeling the game as ‘like another game’.
“We have to keep our calm. Without the tension and the pressure of the supporters, it will be just another match for us. The idea will be to play football.”– Habas on the derby
East Bengal’s assistant coach Anthony Grant will take charge of the team again as Fowler is still serving his ban. He commented on his team and said that they will fight till the end of the season with the hope of building on something next season.
Predicted Line-ups and Score:
ATK Mohun Bagan(4-4-2): GK: Arindam Bhattacharya; DF: Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Tiri, Subhashish Bose; MF: Manvir Singh, Pronay Halder, Lenny, Hernandez; FW: Krishna, Marcelinho.
SC East Bengal(4-2-3-1): GK: Subrata Paul; DF: Sarthak, Raju Gaikwad, Danny Fox, Narayan Das; MF: Steinmann, Luwang, Ankit, Bright, Maghoma; FW: Pilkington.
ATK Mohun Bagan 2-0 SC East Bengal
Although Grant has said that they will give their everything to get some positive results at the end of the season, it is hard to see East Bengal stopping Mohun Bagan on Friday. So, it should probably be a comfortable victory for the Mariners at the Fatorda.