East Bengal hoping for a win over Mohun Bagan in the first Kolkata Derby of the season
Written by: Sourav Neogi
The winner could gain a decisive edge in the title race...
Kolkata giants East Bengal will be looking forward to an optimistic win over bitter rivals Mohun Bagan when they host this season’s first Kolkata derby in Siliguri. Despite a slow start to their I-League campaign this year, the Red and Gold Brigade has displayed consistent performances over the League games and currently sit comfortably at the top of the standings table with three points lead over Mohun Bagan, their opposition in the forthcoming Kolkata derby.
With some impressive performances under their belt, East Bengal is already being considered as a title contender and they will try to bolster such claims with a win over second placed Mohun Bagan in their upcoming game.
Mohun Bagan has enjoyed a swift drift in their I-League schedules since the beginning of this year’s I-League campaign. With AFC Cup fixtures to play earlier in this month, the Mariners lost their top spot to rivals East Bengal, playing a match less than their opposition in the Kolkata derby. The Mariners’ currently are positioned in the second place of the I-League table with 16 points from six games, following East Bengal in the first place.
However, with a perfect standpoint of the League, the Green and Maroons are optimistic for a win over East Bengal in the upcoming Kolkata derby and reclaiming the top spot as the League leaders in the following game.
East Bengal is set to miss defender Anwar Ali to injury against Mohun Bagan while first choice center back Arnab Mondal has already come back from injury and is expected to be a part of the 18-man team against Mohun Bagan in the Kolkata derby this weekend.
The Red and Gold Brigade does not have any suspensions among their midst. However, several players who have picked up yellow cards in the previous games will be deployed cautiously.
Mohun Bagan is currently having a tough time coping with the injury concerns among their midst. First-choice center back Eduardo Ferreira is expected to be doubtful against East Bengal in their next match. Key players such as Raju Gaikwad, Kean Lewis and Kingshuk Debnath who had all picked up injuries previously will also be doubtful against East Bengal in the first Kolkata derby match of the season.
The Mariners, however, does not have any suspensions which comes as a welcome news for coach Sanjoy Sen ahead of their fixture against League leaders East Bengal in the next match.
Head to Head
East Bengal and Mohun Bagan have faced each other a record 358 times till date. Out of these 358 matches played, East Bengal has won 127 matches compared to Mohun Bagan’s 114 while rest of the 117 matches have ended in a draw. The last time these two Kolkata giants played against each other was on 2nd April last year. East Bengal had won the game 2-1.
Trevor Morgan-East Bengal: “It’s another game in the league and three points up for grabs. We’ll push our limits to win it, as we do for any other game, nothing else. It’s you guys who create the buzz around a single game but not the players. We prepare for every single game with utter seriousness and approach each game with same intensity. We won’t deviate from our lookout tomorrow and we will try to execute our plans on the pitch.”
Sanjoy Sen-Mohun Bagan: "I personally look towards the game akin to any other game. Day in and day out, we plan, practice and try to execute it on the field. There’s no other lookout for tomorrow’s game as such. It’s a new season and tomorrow it’s a fresh 90 minutes. Last season is in the history book and we don’t want to look back into it."
Man to Watch
Willis Plaza-East Bengal: The 29-years-old Trinidad and Tobago international has been taking the I-League by storm this year. Plaza is expected to be the most vital piece Trevor Morgan’s tactics against Mohun Bagan AC. Plaza’s positioning sense, his runs on and off the ball will give East Bengal the much-needed directness against Bengaluru FC. A visionary player, who has the eyes for finding gaps in opponent defense will prove vital in terms of scoring goals for East Bengal.
Added to that, Plaza’s dribbling ability will give the Red and Gold Brigade a certain edge over their arch rivals Mohun Bagan in the forthcoming derby. Considering the recent injuries and performance record of the Bagan defense, Plaza’s skills on the ball will make all the difference East Bengal needs against the Mariners in the Kolkata derby.
Sony Norde-Mohun Bagan: The Haitian forward has been a force to reckon with since few past seasons for any opposition defender. Norde offers a certain scintillating display in the left wing, which provides the Mariners an edge over their opponents. The Haitian forward brings versatility as well as an eye for the goal in the Bagan squad.
However, the 27-years-old forward has been unable to score against East Bengal till now but with the current attacking prowess Mohun Bagan has, it will not be surprising if Norde registers his debut goal of the Kolkata derby against East Bengal in the Kolkata derby on Sunday.
East Bengal (4-1-3-2): Rehenesh, Bheke, Gurwinder, Bukenya, Narayan, Mehtab, Ralte, Wedson, Poojary, Robin, Plaza.
Mohun Bagan (4-4-2): Debjit (GK), Kotal, Anas, Bikramjit, Subhasish, Sehnaj, Prabir, Katsumi, Norde, Duffy, Jeje.
The game will broadcast live on Ten 2 at 04:30 pm IST. You can also follow live commentary of the game on khelnow.com.
Published: Sat Feb 11, 2017 08:36 PM IST