Not the derby fans were expecting, but the winners ATK Mohun Bagan will be more than happy to take all three points and claim bragging rights after a 2-0 win over bitter rivals SC East Bengal on Friday in Vasco, Goa. The eighth match of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 was not more than a game of two halves with East Bengal dominating the first 45 minutes. But everything changed after Roy Krishna scored his second goal of the season, a deadly strike. Then, Manvir Singh doubled the lead with a nice finish. Robbie Fowler, who's taking the ISL bow along with his new team, deserved at least a goal against a clinical ATK Mohun Bagan side. For the Mariners, it was a regular Antonio Habas match. He simply doesn't care about possession and other niceties of the game. And the champions once again showed they mean business.
Finally, it's here. SC East Bengal and ATK Mohun Bagan face off as the Indian Super League (ISL) gets the legitimacy it so deservingly needed. Without the two Kolkata giants, not tournament and no league in India is complete. And ISL had been playing out as the country's top-tier league. Now, it is! Tonight's clash at the historic Tilak Maidan in Vasco has already been hailed as probably the biggest match in the history of the league, for obvious reasons. After winning I-league, Mohun Bagan merged with ISL champions ATK, thus forming one behemoth. But they represent only one half of Kolkata, and there was no sight of Kolkata derby -- which is probably Indian football's greatest identifier -- happening. Somehow, East Bengal made a last-gasp entry into the league, thus keeping the Boro match alive. Catch highlights here:
Full-Time: SC East Bengal 0-2 ATK Mohun Bagan
90+5' - East Bengal keeping possession, looking for a face-saving goal. A throw-in inside the attacking third. Another throw-in. Narayan Das sends in a cross, and Surchandra Chandan almost pulls one back with his left-footed effort. Just misses the near upright. And that's all from the first-ever Kolkata derby in ISL. ATK Mohun Bagan are unbeaten...
90+2' - What a mess. A misdirected back pass and Manvir Singh on the counter. His attempt fails to hit the target. Golden chance for him to score a rare brace.
90' - Another change for ATK Mohun Bagan. Inman in for Krishna. Meanwhile, East Bengal continue to press for a consolation goal. Four minutes added.
88' - Nasty collision. Both Tiri and Sandesh Jhingan on the floor. Earlier, Glan Martins replaced Javi Hernandez.
85' - Then, Bagan kill off the contest with the second goal. Manvir Singh hits the top corner with his left foot.
84' - What a miss. East Bengal continue to press for the equaliser. Arindam Bhattacharja fails to clear an easy ball, giving Anthony Pilkington a chance to go for the goal. Crucial block from Tiri. The Bagan keeper redeems himself with a brilliant save. Corner for East Bengal and nothing...
80' - East Bengal trying to claw back into the contest, but Bagan are determined. And the midfield battle continues. Little earlier, Loken was replaced by another Manipuri, Wahengbam Angousana.
And we have a cooling break!
76' - Nothing from the set-play and a quick release from Debjit Majumdar. Bagan win the ball back, then Anthony Pilkington is punished unfairly for a duel for the ball, inside the Bagan half. Moirangthem Loken Meitei is down. Hamstrung.
74' - Quick attack from the goal kick and corner for East Bengal. And they waste it with dilly dallying. On the counter, Bagan win a corner.
72' - Narayan Das climbs on Roy Krishna. Booked. Soft one. From the free-kick, Bagan create a clear scoring chance but poor header near the far post.
69' - Good spell of play for East Bengal. A long ball from Daniel Fox and Arindam Bhattacharja leaves his line for clearance. Dangerous play. Moments later, Pritam Kotal is booked for a sliding tackle on Mohamed Rafique.
65' - Carl McHugh brings down Matti Steinmann. Freekick for East Bengal. Balwant Singh out, Mohammed Rafique in for East Bengal.
64' - After a quick interchange, Bagan win a corner. Carl McHugh leaps and goes for the top corner. His header just misses the target.
63' - A very good looking attempt from Jacques Maghoma. But his left-footed drill sails over the bar. Change for Bagan. David Williams out, Manvir in.
62' - Intense pressing from East Bengal. Then, Narayan Das fails to keep the ball in play, a mazy run near the touchline on the left flank without any purpose. Poor play.
60' - Balwant Singh, what have you done. Nice turn by Anthony Pilkington in the centre to launch an attack, then Balwant messes up the opportunity. His left-footed target always missing the target. No control.
58' - First sub. East Bengal bring in Abhishek Ambekar for Rana Gharami.
56' - Good work from East Bengal captain Daniel Fox to mark danger man Roy Krishna. But free-kick to ATK Mohun Bagan and Javier Hernandez races inside the box, until he hits a road block.
53' - Frustration for East Bengal. Booking for Jacques Maghoma. And Sandesh Jhingan escapes a certain booking, for a lunging challenge on Surchandra Chandan.
49' - Then what. Roy Krishna breaks the deadlock with a crafty finish. It's Krishna time in Goa. Good work from Javier Hernandez to relay the ball and the Fijian beats Debjit Majumder with a left-footed drill.
48' - Probing run from Roy Krishna. But the ball goes out of the play. Goal kick for East Bengal. The Fijian is uncharacteristically quiet tonight.
46' - ATK Mohun Bagan off to a good start in the second half. A long ball, and confusion between East Bengal goalkeeper and a defender.
8:29 PM IST: Fowler will be happy with his team's performance (58%). East Bengal dominated the possession and have more attempts, but one each on target.
FIRST-HALF: SC East Bengal 0-0 ATK Mohun Bagan
45+2' - Nice move from Jacques Maghoma, nutmegging two ATK Mohun Bagan players, then Anthony Pilkington let the ball roll over for a corner from a deflection. And little more play... then the whistle for half time.
45' - Booking. Yellow for Jayesh Rane for his late tackle on Matti Steinmann. Two minutes added.
44' - Jacques Maghoma wastes yet another move, by taking too long to either shoot or release.
42' - Nice play from ATK Mohun Bagan, but ended with an ambitious long ranger from Jayesh Rane. Probably going for the moon.
38' - Balwant Singh is tackled near the far corner, and free-kick for East Bengal. Brilliant delivery from Surchandra Chandan and Balwant wasted it. All he needed to do was make decent contact.
36' - Throw-in for Bagan in the attacking third, and almost the opener. Brilliant save from Debjit Majumder as Javier Hernandez goes for the far corner.
34' - Busy man Moirangthem Loken Meitei delivers one from the right flank, and deflection for a corner. ATK Mohun Bagan clear the danger away, but Rana Gharami gets a chance to try a long ranger. Missing the target.
32' - Quick restart after the break, and Anthony Pilkington fails to control the ball. Goal kick for Arindam Bhattacharja.
And we have first drinks break!
30' - Dangerous play from Narayan Das to roll back the ball to the goalkeeper. Debjit Majumder manages to clear the ball, and East Bengal create a good chance. A teasing cross from the right flank, but Jacques Maghoma leaping header fails to hit the target. Best chance of the match!
28' - Solid defending from Surchandra Chandan. Despite physical inferiority, he holds off the attacker and let the ball cross the byline. But Bagan are slowly growing into the contest.
27' - Throw-in for ATK Mohun Bagan, and from the following play, win a corner. Low deliver from Javier Hernandez, and Pritam Kotal goes for the glory from the distance. Misses the target. Poor effort.
24' - A rare foray into east Bengal goal-mouth, the Red and Gold Brigade manage to thwart the move.
22' - First booking of the match. East Bengal frontman Balwant Singh is booked for a late tackle on Javier Hernandez just outside the ATK Mohun Bagan box.
19' - Throw-in for East Bengal in the attacking third. And Anthony Pilkington goes for the goal. Clean work under the bar from Arindam.
18' - And in a quick response, Debjit Majumder is forced to save a good attempt from ATK Mohun Bagan.
16' - Surchandra Chandan tries a curler from a distance, and he just misses it. Nice try from the youngster.
14' - And, Robbie Fowler's boys are keeping the possession. But, a frantic clearance leads the ball to the opposite end, forcing Debjit Majumder to leave the line and clear it with a wild kick.
12' - After a good spell, ATK Mohun Bagan allow East Bengal to dominate the possession.
9' - After a cagey start, the game is opening up. Prabir Das hits the crossbar.
7' - What a chance for East Bengal. A call for a penalty after Pilkington is downed inside the box. Nothing from the referee though.
5' - David Williams wins a free-kick. But poor play Bagan. East Bengal win the ball back.
2' - ATK Mohun Bagan win the first corner of the match. David Williams' delivery fails to reach the intended target and East Bengal on the ball.
1' - Early throw-in for ATK Mohun Bagan, inside their own half. Then, one for East Bengal.
7:35 PM IST: And a minutes silence for Chuni Goswami and PK Banerjee.
7:29 PM IST: Players and officials line-up for the customary National Anthem.
7:27 PM IST: Players and match officials are out. Ramaswamy Srikrishna is the match referee tonight.
7:24 PM IST: Minutes away from the kick-off. Here's a look at the points table. NorthEast United lead with four points from two outings, followed by Chennaiyin FC, ATK Mohun Bagan, Hyderabad FC and Mumbai City -- all with three points. Bengaluru FC, FC Goa, Kerala Blasters are on one point each. Jamshedpur FC and Odisha FC are pointless after one match each. East Bengal are making their ISL bow tonight.
6:46 PM IST: Line-ups are revealed -
East Bengal: Debjit Majumder (GK - 24); Scott Neville (2), Rana Gharami (16), Daniel Fox (4), Narayan Das (21); Matti Steinmann (6), Moirangthem Loken Meitei (33); Surchandra Chandan (29), Anthony Pilkington (22), Balwant Singh (15), Jacques Maghoma (19).
Subs: Sankar Roy (1), Ningthoukhongjam Rohen (31), Abhishek Ambekar (37), Mohamed Irshad (66), Mohamed Rafique (8), Wahengbam Luwang (14), Eugeneson Lyngdoh (18), Haobam Tomba (44), Jeje Lalpekhlua (12)
ATK Mohun Bagan: Arindam Bhattacharja (GK - 29), Sandesh Jhingan (5), Tiri (44), Pritam Kotal (20); Jayesh Rane (16), Javier Hernandez (19); Subhasish Bose (15), Carl McHugh (8), Prabir Das (33); Roy Krishna (21), David Williams (9).
Subs: Dheeraj Moirangthem (1), Avilash Paul (12), Sumit Rathi (2), Bradden Inman (11), Pronay Halder (17), Sahil Sheikh (18), Regin Michael (25), Boris Thangjam (27), Manvir Singh (6).
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For live updates ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ https://t.co/sYPrJCL2os#DerbyDay #LetsFootball pic.twitter.com/GUTglEK3HE— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) November 27, 2020
6:27 PM IST: And here's how you can watch the match live
All ISL matches will be "telecasted and live streamed in 82 territories across the world." Official broadcasting partner Star Network will exclusively telecast ISL matches in India on Star Sports 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 2 SD & HD (English); Star Sports Hindi 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 3, Star Gold 2 (Hindi), Asianet Plus, Asianet Movies (Malayalam); Star Sports Bangla; Star Sports Kannada; Star Sports Tamil; Star Sports Telugu and Star Sports Marathi. Online streaming will be available on Disney+ Hotstar VIP and JioTV.
Check complete broadcast details HERE.
6:23 PM IST: Here are the likely XIs
East Bengal: Debjit Majumder; Gurtej Singh, Daniel Fox, Scott Neville, Samad Mallick; Matti Steinmann, Mohammed Rafique, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Anthony Pilkington, Jacques Maghoma; Jeje Lalpekhlua.
ATK Mohun Bagan: Arindam Bhattacharja; Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Tiri; Prabir Das, Pronay Halder, Javier Hernandez, Carl McHugh, Subhasish Bose; Roy Krishna and David Williams.
6:04 PM IST: Here's a glimpse of Tilak Maiden
5:51 PM IST: Here's a look at key players -
East Bengal: Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler, who has been tasked to revive East Bengal's lost legacy, will rely on former Norwich City winger Anthony Pilkington and ex-Birmingham City star Jacques Maghoma. But the presence of a host homegrown talents, including seasoned Jeje Lalpekhlua, augur well for the Red and Gold Brigade.
Mohun Bagan: Antonio Habas will continue to rely on the attacking prowess of Roy Krishna and David Williams. Michael Soosairaj is out with an injury. Bagan have tried and tested squad, and Habas knows how to field a winning XI.
5:27 PM IST: What happened so far?
So far, seven matches have been played in the 2010-21 season. In the season opener, ATK Mohun Bagan beat Kerala Blasters with Roy Krishna scoring the lone goal. NorthEast United beat 10-man Mumbai City by a solitary goal, then title last season's semi-finalists -- FC Goa and Bengaluru Fc played out a 2-2 draw. In the fourth match, Hyderabad FC beat Odisha FC 1-0 while also keeping their first-ever clean-sheet. Two-time champions Chennaiyin FC came survived some tense moments before beating Jamshedpur FC. Then, Mumbai City got their first win of the season with a 1-0 win over Goa, while a stoppage-time goal helped NorthEast share spoils with Kerala in the seventh match.
4:51 PM IST: Meanwhile, here's what the derby legends Bhaichung Bhutia and his former Mohun Bagan team-mate Jose Baretto rue the absence of fans. Former India captain Bhutia has featured for both East Bengal and Bagan during his illustrious club career.
Jose Baretto and Bhaichung Bhutia
"We represent the supporters on the ground and I had always that feeling in me... I represent every house, family, and every supporter of Mohun Bagan. I always tried to be at the best of my abilities and deliver the goals so I could bring joy to them. I have always had positive feelings about the derby," Baretto said.
And Bhutia agreed. "Fans give you pressure and create an atmosphere. Players with a big heart can take that but some good players would not be able to," he said. "Performances of the players depends on the kind of personality they have. But it would not make them aware how big a match this is, given that they're not playing in Kolkata. They will be more relaxed."
To start with, here's a brief preview, courtesy ISL:
There has been a lot of anticipation and build-up around this encounter amongst the entire football fraternity as the two heavyweights joined India’s premier football league.
Led by a new head coach in former Liverpool FC legend Robbie Fowler, who takes over a revamped squad, SCEB will aim to open their campaign on a winning note. SCEB boasts of a line-up heavy with talented Indian players including Jeje Lalpekhlua, Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Balwant Singh. Their foreign contingent, spearheaded by captain Dylan Fox alongside experienced stars such as Anthony Pilkington and Jacques Maghoma, will give Fowler confidence as he embraces his second stint as head coach.
“Our team is full of leaders and Danny is a leader among leaders," the 45-year-old said. "I believe in him and feel he has the acumen to drive SCEB forward as we build up to our first game, the big derby. I have had good conversations with him and he has shown the hunger like everybody else, to deliver the goods for the team."
The Englishman, however, will have his task cut out against ATKMB coach Antonio Lopez Habas, who is into his fourth ISL season. Habas isn't short of experience, having won two ISL titles. ATKMB's strong squad depth also means that Antonio Habas' side will start as favourites.
The Mariners began their campaign with a narrow 1-0 victory against Kerala Blasters and a win against their arch-rivals might just hand them the momentum they need as the season goes on.
"The derby is a special match and it's important for me because I know what's the intensity in Kolkata and what it means to the supporters," Habas said. "We have to respect and try and bring joy to our supporters in Kolkata."
A rivalry for the ages, the battle for bragging rights in the ‘City of Joy’ enters a new era.
SC East Bengal: Goalkeepers - Debjit Majumder, Rafique Ali, Mirshad Michu, Sankar Roy; Defenders - Daniel Fox, Scott Neville, Gurtej Singh, Narayan Das, Lalramchullova, Abhishek Ambekar, Rana Gharami, Samad Mallick, Mohamed Irshad, Ningthoukhongjam Rohen, Anil Chawan, Novin Gurung, Pritam Soraisam; Midfielders - Aaron Hammadi-Holloway, Anthony Pilkington, Matti Steinman, Jacques Maghoma, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Bikash Jairu, Sehnaj Singh, Surchandra Chandam, Moirangthem Loken Meitei, Haobam Tomba, Milan Oinam, Wahengbam Luwang, Mohamed Rafique, Yumnam Gopi; Forwards - Jeje Lalpekhlua, Balwant Singh, CK Vineeth, Girik Khosla, Harmanpreet Singh.
ATK Mohun Bagan FC: Goalkeepers - Arindam Bhattacharja, Dheeraj Moirangthem, Arsh Shaikh, Aryan Niraj Lamba, Avilash Paul; Defenders - Tiri, Sandesh Jhingan, Prabir Das, Pritam Kotal, Subhasish Bose, Sumit Rathi, Boris Thangjam; Midfielders - Edu Garcia, Javier Hernandez, Carl McHugh, Glan Martins, Michael Soosairaj, Jayesh Rane, Pronay Halder, Bradden Inman, Michael Regin, Sahil Sheikh, Ningombam Engson, Md. Fardin Ali Molla; Forwards - Roy Krishna, David Williams, Manvir Singh.