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ISL- Indian Super League

ATK Mohun Bagan Vs East Bengal: Key battles that will determine the winners in Kolkata Derby

Published at :October 27, 2022 at 8:59 PM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

Uttiyo Sarkar


These players are a key part of their respective teams and will have key roles in the Boro match.

The biggest game of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season takes place on Saturday. It’ll be when ATK Mohun Bagan meet arch-rivals East Bengal in the first Kolkata Derby of the ISL campaign. This will also mark the first ISL Kolkata Derby to actually be hosted in front of fans in the City of Joy as well.

For one day, Kolkata will be divided into two and a heavy battle of bragging rights will ensue. The pressure will be at a fever pitch for the players, who know the importance of winning this game. In the end, it’ll be the players to win or lose the match for their respective teams.

But a few players, in particular, will be involved in the in-game battles that will probably decide the outcome. So let’s look at the three key battles for the 'Boro' clash.

3. Cleiton Silva vs Pritam Kotal

Cleiton Silva
Silva has scored in consecutive matches for East Bengal this season (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Cleiton Silva has emerged as East Bengal’s leader in the attack. He is the top-scorer for the Red & Golds with two goals in three games. The Brazilian’s clever movement, ability to create chances and clinical finishing make him a beacon of hope for the fans. If he’s allowed too much freedom, Silva can run riot in the Kolkata Derby. That’s why local boy Pritam Kotal has to tap into his utmost power to stop the East Bengal forward.

Kotal seems to be Juan Ferrando’s go-to Indian centre-back this season and must prove his credentials in that role. He will have to keep a close eye on Cleiton and leap into challenges to keep him neutralized. Silva, on the other hand, will probably look to capitalize on Pritam’s occasional lapses in concentration. The polarized approach for these two should make their duel especially intriguing and one that can decide the scoreline.

2. Joni Kauko vs Charalambos Kyriakou

Joni Kauko
Kauko has established himself in Juan Ferrando's midfield (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Ever since arriving at ATK Mohun Bagan, Joni Kauko’s assumed the position of their midfield general. Almost everything goes through him and he’s among the first to press the opponent and regain the ball. The 32-year-old Finnish midfielder is the glue between both sides of the pitch for the Mariners and boasts many qualities.

Kauko can also cause extensive damage if given too much freedom to roam around in midfield. His creative spark and smell for goals make him an unpredictable threat to the opponent.

But Kauko is likely to meet up against a confident Charalambos Kyriakou in the derby. The new East Bengal signing scored a fantastic goal in the win over NorthEast United. He also seemed a solid fit in midfield, being able to protect his defenders strongly and also hassle the opposition players.

Kyriakou might be tasked to man-mark Kauko out of the game. The aggressive, commanding styles of both players should make this battle a fascinating one. Only the player who is – both mentally and physically – stronger will come out on top.

1. Dimitri Petratos vs Ivan Gonzalez

Ivan Gonzalez East Bengal
Gonzalez will command the East Bengal backline in the Kolkata Derby (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Dimitri Petratos has had quite a stellar start to his career in the ISL. In just two appearances, he has scored three goals and provided two assists. Out of that, four-goal contributions (hat-trick and assist) came in the 5-2 win over Kerala Blasters. Petratos is clinical, opportunistic, and sneaky. He knows exactly when to creep into the goal-scoring areas or pull away defenders to send his teammates through on goal.

It’s clear that East Bengal needs to keep the in-form ATKMB forward quiet to block one of their major scoring channels. Their commanding defender, Ivan Gonzalez, has to prove to be worth the money in this.

The Spaniard has had a difficult start to his career with the Kolkata side, making poor errors in the first few games. He can’t afford any of that against the Mariners. Gonzalez must read Petratos’ moves and general style well enough to stop him from causing a storm in his box. Ivan has to also marshal his defence properly, ensuring his fellow defenders keep a strict line and frustrate ATKMB.

Gonzalez has a big job in his hands keeping the conniving Petratos at bay. But if he’s able to stop the ATK Mohun Bagan striker from dictating the game or threatening his goal, Ivan can see his popularity start to soar among the East Bengal faithful.

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