CFL Kolkata Derby Preview: Undefeated East Bengal and Mohun Bagan meet in first clash of season
Written by: Uttiyo Sarkar
The two teams will put their streaks on the line and gain a potentially decisive edge in the title race.
It’s almost here! The first Kolkata Derby of the new season is almost upon us, as East Bengal and Mohun Bagan fight it out to decide the fate of the Calcutta Football League (CFL) title race. Whilst the Mariners are arguably in better form right now, the reigning CFL champions have their own trump card in Jonny Acosta, who recently signed on with the club. Tensions will be flying high as the Red and Gold look to win their first Kolkata Derby in over three years.
East Bengal might be looking favourites heading into the bout, but the Mariners have picked up form recently and will go all out to take an important lead in the title race. Something has got to give in the match, which divides the city of Kolkata into two and could also determine the potential winners of the CFL this season.
About The Teams
East Bengal are currently tied on points with Bagan, but their narrow wins against George Telegraph and Rainbow took a toll on their goal-difference. While East Bengal might be barely second on goal-difference, they picked up a lot of momentum thanks to the thrilling last-minute win against Telegraph. Boosted by the arrival of Costa Rican Acosta, who is expected to feature in the match, the Red and Gold look to be high on confidence and playing some very good football.
They are being setup in a 4-3-3 formation by technical director Subhash Bhowmick, with Minerva Punjab recruits Kamalpreet Singh and Kassim Aidara holding the midfield and also helping them defensively. Mahmoud Al Amnah is finally getting some freedom going forward, while the attacking trio of Laldanmawia Ralte, Brandon Vanlalremdika and Jobby Justin have formed an impressive chemistry. Bengal have conceded the least amount of goals so far, only letting in one and Acosta’s arrival will give them power from the back and help stop the dangerous duo of Dipanda Dicka and Henry Kisekka.
For Mohun Bagan, a victory against East Bengal could mean that the CFL trophy returns home after a long nine years. The Mariners looked dodgy initially, but have picked up form recently with their own Indian core looking especially strong. Sankarlal Chakraborty will also be delighted to see Dicka and Kisekka form this impressive, telepathic partnership upfront, as they have combined for five of Bagan’s last seven goals.
The Mariners are playing a more traditional 4-4-2 formation, with Kisekka playing a bit deeper to let Dicka terrorize defenders inside the final third. The impressive Britto PM is also an asset on the wings, while local boys Arijit Bagui and Pintu Mahata also contribute a lot of crosses into the box. Bagan will not be deterred by Acosta’s introduction and will play on the attack, as anything but a win could dash their hopes of attaining the CFL crown for another season.
The match is all set to take place at the majestic Salt Lake Stadium. The venue holds about 66,000 fans right now and without a shadow of a doubt will be packed to the rafters for this feisty encounter.
What To Expect?
Kolkata Derbies are never dull and this is not going to be one where either team will play cagey football. Both of them will go for the win and aim to play some free-flowing football and with both teams being wobbly defensively, the result will be dependent on which of the sides can contain the others’ attack the most.
Khel Now Predicts: East Bengal 1-1 Mohun Bagan.
Published: Sat Sep 01, 2018 03:39 PM IST