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ISL 2023-24: Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal: Preview, Predicted lineup, injury news, H2H, telecast details

Published at :February 2, 2024 at 6:55 PM
Modified at :February 2, 2024 at 6:55 PM
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(Courtesy : ISL Media)

Uttiyo Sarkar


East Bengal have defeated Mohun Bagan twice this season.

Mohun Bagan will restart their 2023/24 Indian Super League season with a huge Kolkata derby against a high-flying East Bengal side at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata on Saturday (February 3).

With the Red & Gold Brigade coming off winning the 2024 Kalinga Super Cup, where they defeated the Mariners, this will be a fiery clash in front of a 60,000+ passionate crowd with a desperate pull for bragging rights.

The Stakes

Mohun Bagan

The Antonio Habas era will officially kick-start with the biggest game of the Indian football season calendar. For the Spaniard, this is the toughest test he could face in his first game as the Mariners’ manager – but also a perfect one where he can immediately get the fans on his side. With Mohun Bagan having lost their last three ISL games before the AFC Asian Cup break, they are desperate to get back to winning ways to get back into the league title race.

A win can not only help them bring joy to their fans and dent East Bengal’s gaga, but also move them closer to the top of the table. Another loss, or draw, however, can see them fall even more behind the top spot and their task of winning the ISL shield become even harder.

East Bengal

The Red & Gold Brigade are purring with confidence and glee after clinching their first trophy in the Carles Cuadrat era. Cuadrat has already proven that he has gotten Mohun Bagan’s number in terms of being able to outwit them in the Kolkata derbies, with East Bengal already defeating them twice. But this match will have a different task to it. Firstly, Cuadrat can’t use six foreign players anymore and faces a Mohun Bagan side much fresher than his own.

East Bengal won only two of their 10 matches in the first half of the ISL season, something the mentor desperately wants to change. A win can set them up nicely for the second half of the campaign, as East Bengal can prove that they can win the major ISL games and make a stronger push for a playoff spot. A draw won’t be the worst thing and would still keep them in the race for a playoff finish, but a loss can be particularly gutting for the fans and also impact the momentum that East Bengal picked up in the Super Cup.

Injury and Team News

Mohun Bagan will still be without their winger Ashique Kuruniyan due to injury. Anwar Ali has recovered from his problem and restarted training.

East Bengal are missing their experienced defender Harmanjot Khabra, who is still some time away from recovering from his injury. New signing Victor Vazquez is unlikely to be ready for this clash. Souvik Chakrabarti is suspended after his sending-off in the Super Cup final.

Head-to-Head

Total Matches – 395

Mohun Bagan wins – 128

East Bengal FC wins – 141

Draws – 126

Predicted Lineup

Mohun Bagan (3-4-1-2)

Vishal Kaith, Anwar Ali, Hector Yuste, Brendan Hamill, Manvir Singh, Anirudh Thapa, Deepak Tangri, Subhasish Bose, Sahal Abdul Samad, Dimitri Petratos, Jason Cummings

East Bengal (4-2-3-1)

Prabhsukhan Gill (GK), Mohammad Rakip, Lalchungnunga, Hijazi Maher, Mandar Rao Dessai, Saul Crespo, Jose Pardo, Nandhakumar Sekar, Naorem Mahesh Singh, PV Vishnu, Cleiton Silva

Players to Watch

Jason Cummings (Mohun Bagan)

ISL 2023-24: Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal: Preview, Predicted lineup, injury news, H2H, telecast details Jason Cummings
Jason Cummings will aim his first Kolkata derby goal. (Courtesy: ISL)

Jason Cummings was actually unable to start any of the three Kolkata derby games against East Bengal this season, playing all three as a substitute. However, he is likely to be slotted up front by Habas – who values a quality forward in his side. The Australian forward hasn’t had the best of seasons at Mohun Bagan so far, only scoring four goals in nine ISL appearances.

However, a fully fit and motivated Cummings can be a menace for the opposition backline. He will probably look to play closer to the opposition box going forward, making clever runs in behind the defenders and dragging them out of positions with his link-up play. However, Cummings needs to be at his ruthless best in terms of converting chances against East Bengal and can absolutely improve his popularity among the fans with a clinical display in the derby.

Naorem Mahesh Singh (East Bengal)

ISL 2023-24: Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal: Preview, Predicted lineup, injury news, H2H, telecast details Naorem Mahesh Singh
Naorem Mahesh Singh is expected to start in the Kolkata derby after returning from national duty. (Courtesy: ISL)

Naorem Mahesh Singh helped bring more creativity and energy to East Bengal’s attack in the Super Cup final, producing an assist. He has been one of their best players in the 2023/24 ISL, with four goal contributions in 10 games. Apart from that, he has created 16 chances – the joint-most for any player in the team. Mahesh has the ability to thrive under the pressure of a big game, as he has done at both club and national level in the past few months.

He is an elastic, unpredictable player who loves to move into different areas of the pitch to cause havoc. Mahesh will need to be accurate with his final passes into the box, especially with his inviting set-pieces. He will also try to get at the end of some goal-scoring situations to amplify his side’s ability to destabilize Mohun Bagan’s backline.

Did you know?

  • Prabsukhan Gill has kept five clean-sheets in the ISL this season, the second-most for any player.
  • Sahal Abdul Samad has registered more assists than any other Indian player in the ISL, getting five in only six appearances.
  • East Bengal’s Kalinga Super Cup win marked their first national level trophy win since clinching the Federation Cup title in 2012.
  • This fixture has averaged two goals in the three meetings this season.

Telecast

The Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal game kicks off at 7:30 PM IST, at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata on February 3, 2024. Live telecast of the fixture will be available on Sports18 Network (Sports18 1/VH1 Channel). Live streaming of the game will be available on the JioCinema app. Viewers from abroad can use OneFootball to stream the game.

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