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ISL 2022-23: ATK Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal in Kolkata Derby with More Than 3 Points on Offer

By: Ritayan Basu

News18.com

Last Updated: October 30, 2022, 10:28 IST

Kolkata, India

ATK Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal in Kolkata Derby with More Than 3 Points on Offer (PC: Twitter/ATKMB and EBFC)

ATK Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal in Kolkata Derby with More Than 3 Points on Offer (PC: Twitter/ATKMB and EBFC)

Arch-rivals ATK Mohun Bagan and East Bengal will face-off in the historical Kolkata Derby in the Indian Super League

The city stands divided on the lines of red-yellow and green-maroon whenever the Kolkata derby comes around, with the storied rivalry between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal putting India on the World football map.

Friendships are forgotten and battle lines drawn among acquaintances whenever the ‘boro match’ (big match in Bengali) comes calling. But this time it is different. After clashing behind closed doors for the last two seasons, Kolkata’s Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan will be the seat of the fiercest of battles.

In fact, fans will be in attendance for an ATK Mohun Bagan-East Bengal match for the first time in the Indian Super League, with their games being in the I-League before and the Durand Cup back in August, when a Sumeet Passi own goal helped ATK Mohun Bagan beat East Bengal.

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The Mariners have been dominant side in recent times with a 100 per cent-win record against the Torch Bearers in the ISL. The last time East Bengal was victorious over Mohun Bagan was back in January, 2019.

East Bengal head coach Stephen Constantine is eager to get over their poor run.

“The Kolkata derby is the biggest game in the Indian football calendar and it’s a special game," Constantine said at the pre-match press conference on Friday.

“I think we have made a tremendous improvement since the last Kolkata derby. I think we are a better team than when we played them in the Durand Cup. Of course, it’s league points and also the question of the bragging rights that go with the Kolkata derby and I’m conscious about the fact that we haven’t won the Kolkata derby for 8-9 matches, so we will try and fix that," he added.

ATK Mohun Bagan head coach Juan Ferrando though felt the derby “will be like any other game.”

“It’s about three points. Of course, the occasion is special because I know the city and the history of the derby. The supporters will be coming and everyone wants to enjoy this match. But for us, it’s one more game and a new opportunity to get three points," Ferrando said at the pre-match press conference.

“We want to win. For us it’s an important game, but it’s necessary to know the situation and think minute-by-minute. I understand the emotions of the derby. But it’s a part of football. This is why we love to play football, for the joy it brings. We want to win," he added.

East Bengal star Cleiton Silva feels even though their record has not been the best, the pressure will be on their opponents.

“The pressure is on them because they made the biggest investments and have the biggest players. We are not underdogs but if you ask people in this room, eight out of ten players will say ATK Mohun Bagan will win the game," Silva said at the press conference.

ATK Mohun Bagan captain Pritam Kotal though countered that the ‘favourites tag does not matter’.

“The derby is always a 50-50 game from my past experiences. Both the teams will give their everything. Both teams want to win and the favourites tag does not matter. We don’t feel any pressure," Kotal said at the press conference.

Both teams bounded back from home defeats in their previous outing with strong performances and big wins. Looking for a first win at the venue in the Indian Super League, either team know it is more than just three points on offer in the Kolkata derby.

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first published:October 29, 2022, 07:14 IST
last updated:October 30, 2022, 10:28 IST