The supporter was led to a nearby hospital in assistance of the police but succumbed to his demise.
East Bengal lost their first Kolkata Derby of the Indian Super League (ISL) campaign against ATK Mohun Bagan. Despite producing an encouraging performance, the Red & Gold Brigaders fell to two unfortunate second half goals.
A goalkeeping error allowed Hugo Boumous’ strike to land inside the net and another unlucky deflection resulted in Manvir Singh’s goal. East Bengal boss Stephen Constantine was quite upbeat after the game, claiming that his side are improving with every game.
But away from their misery on the pitch, a tragic incident took place in the stands. Over 20,000 East Bengal supporters flocked to the Salt Lake Stadium. Amid the rollercoaster of emotions, one supporter ended up losing his life.
East Bengal fan Joy Shankar Saha, 37, suffered a cardiac arrest in the stands while the Kolkata Derby was up and running. When the police, in an ambulance, took him to a nearby hospital, Saha succumbed to his demise. This has left the East Bengal fanbase shocked and in grief, with supporters paying tribute to their fellow brother.
East Bengal members react
But not just the East Bengal fans, but their team members have also paid their respects to him. Constantine tweeted after the game: “We are deeply saddened to hear about the sudden passing away of Joy Shankar Saha, who was one of our loyal supporters. On behalf of the club and players, I would like to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Joy. Gone too soon.”
Aniket Jadhav also grieved the loss, tweeting: “Joy Shankar Saha, a name that we shall remember. An ardent fan and an @eastbengal_fc family member. My thoughts are with his family and friend.”
East Bengal CEO Namrata Parekh reacted by tweeting: “Joy Shankar Saha, an ardent @eastbengal_fc fan sadly passed away due to a heart attack. Our prayers and condolences to his family and friends. A young soul of the EB family, lost too soon.”
Even midfielder Jordan O’Doherty expressed grief to the incident.
ATK Mohun Bagan members also pay respect
Not only members of the East Bengal management, but also ATK Mohun Bagan’s players and head coach reacted to the unfortunate incident.
ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando paid his tribute, tweeting: “Too sad to know about Mr. Joy Shankar Saha, who passed away during the match. All my condolences to his family and friends. Rest in peace.”
Skipper Pritam Kotal tweeted: “The fight on the pitch is of 90 minutes. We always hope that those who come to the stadium, enjoy the match. During the course of the derby game, Baguiati’s resident Joy Shankar Saha suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away.”
He added another tweet saying, “May his soul rest in peace. Condolences to the family.”
ATKMB players Deepak Tangri and Sumit Rathi also paid their tributes on Twitter, with the rivalry being put aside for this truly tragic event.
The saddening demise took place in what was the first ISL Kolkata Derby in front of fans, with over 60,000 flocking the Salt Lake Stadium for the first time this season.