Although the game ended goalless, it was an exciting one to watch for the large crowd gathered at the Salt Lake Stadium.
With a packed Yuba Bharati Krirangan yelling and supporting their sides, the Kolkata Derby in the Calcutta Football League was an end-to-end affair, with both teams producing a tactical masterclass to ensure the opposition was outwitted.
Both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan fans won’t go home disappointed despite the lack of goals, as both teams played out a thriller, with the showdown between Alejandro Menendez and Vicu Kibuna having all the elements of a blockbuster derby day!
Lalthuammawia Ralte (GK)- 9.0
It was a solid performance by Ralte, who looked prompt and was a proactive presence in the East Bengal goal throughout the match. His saves and collections were on point and made life easier for Crespi and Mehtab, who did not have to look over their shoulders when it came to the former Bengaluru FC keeper’s work.
The highlight was when he collected the ball off a Suhair shot calmly and helped his team build from the back. Such composure in such high intensity has only come from experience.
Kamalpreet Singh- 8.0
Kamalpreet had a lot of support from Pintu Mahata, but this takes nothing away from the former Minerva man, who guarded the left-hand side and kept the treasures of goal away from Bagan. He also caused plenty of trouble for Joseba Beitia and made forward runs when possible to disrupt the opposition defence.
Pintu Mahata- 8.0
It looked like Pintu was on his toes against his former side, as he made incisive runs and tried to stretch the Bagan defence. He also covered well for Kamalpreet and thus, was immensely instrumental in shutting down the left flank for the Mariners.
Ronaldo Oliviera- 7.5
The Goan forward looked sharp in his runs, but was often checked by the offside flag. Bagan’s high line ensured that the prolific goalscorer from last season’s Goa Pro League wasn’t able to capitalize on his abilities. He was taken off in the 71st minute for the more lethal Bidyasagar Singh.
Lalrindika Ralte- 9.0
Didika ran the attacking midfield setup almost like a puppet master and ensured that the transition from attack to defence for the Red and Gold was smooth and on point. He also ensured that Bagan were not allowed to build from the back, but were forced to chip or launch the ball long. The midfielder was also accurate with his set-pieces, but his team were not able to capitalize on them.
Abhishek Ambekar- 8.0
From Minerva to Bagan and now with the Red and Gold, Ambekar has shone at the highest level as a left-back for quite a while. Today’s game was just another opportunity to showcase his underrated talent, which only the ardent football fans will notice.
He ensured that almost no attacks were made from his side and wasn’t scared to put his body on the line, when the likes of Suhrabuddin raised their legs well near his nose.
Mehtab Singh- 8.0
If Crespi played Rio Ferdinand, then Mehtab was truly his Nemanja Vidic! Bagan’s inability to break the deadlock was testament to the partnership that stood like a wall and denied them space or chance to break through. Even a fine ball by Ashutosh on the hour mark that fell into the feet of Suhair was not converted, as the forward played under the shadow of Mehtab, such was his magnificence.
Brandon Vanlalremdika- 8.5
Brandon was the star on the left for the team that made life difficult for the team in Green and Maroon. His coordination with Didika was key to his high speed game and thus, made for entertaining viewing.
Bidyasagar Singh- 7.0
The super-sub came a tad late, but did entertain the fans in his limited time on the pitch. His chemistry with talisman Jaime Santos Colado made the end-to-end game more entertaining.
Debjit Majumder- 8.0
Debjit was instrumental in making sure that a flourishing attack from East Bengal was thwarted at any cost. He even put his body on the line in the 63rd minute, when he blocked Ronaldo’s shot. His positional awareness was on show and he looks to have regained his form that had India taking note.
Ashutosh Mehta- 7.5
The Mumbai boy looked lethal in defence and attack, but was troubled by Brandon and Ronaldo and then by Bidyasagar, who ensured that Mehta had to stay back, defending for considerable parts of the game.
He did put in a deadly cross in the 60th minute to test the East Bengal defence, but it was thwarted by Mehtab and Co.
Gurjinder Kumar- 6.5
The first headed attempt of the game came from him, but he became silent as the match went on. He was not the focal point of any movement and played a withdrawn role as Suhair and Surabuddin took charge of the attack.
Lalranchullova came into the game being highly rated and it was expected that he would make a critical difference, having previously played under Menendez.
But he had no impact in attack or defence, as he slowly vanished into the background.
Surabuddin Mallick- 7.5
The Bagan forward who never seemed out of breath, made impressive runs and ensured that the game was an highly charged affair. He tried his best getting forward to win the ball, but Mehtab seemed to have had the better of him.
His link-up play with Suhair was amazing to watch and on any other day these two would surely have been on the scoresheet.
SK Sahil- 6.0
Sahil played a defensive midfield role behind Beitia and ensured there was a link between the attack and defence. But, he was massively disturbed in his role by the annoying pressing of Didika Ralte and his cohort.
Nongdamba Naorem- 6.0
If the game was 15 minutes long, Naorem would have been the Man of the Match. He seemed to be on every ball and every move for the first 15 and it looked as if at least a goal or two would come from the Indian Arrows product.
But, with the progression of the game it looked seemingly impossible for the youngster to even get on the ball. He needs a wake-up call or might spend the rest of the season on the bench.
Suhair VP- 7.5
Suhair looked like a man on a mission to disrupt and pillage the opposition turf and he made sure that his presence was noted by both Crespi and Mehtab. He did all he could, except score a goal, as he pushed his engine to extremes and looked as tireless as his foil Surabuddin.
Alexander Jesuraj- 7.0
His presence brought some freshness in an attack that had gone stale due to the lack of involvement by Lalramchullova and Nongdamba. His active involvement and near miss from within the penalty area begs the question, what if he would have been involved from the beginning?
Britto PM- NA
Came on late and tried to push the envelope, but had very little time to impact the game in any way. Britto might get a look-in in the upcoming games.