East Bengal take on Mohun Bagan in the first Kolkata Derby of ISL at 7:30 pm IST today. The match is being billed as the Biggest Derby in India as two of the oldest rivals go up against each other. Despite, ISL being a huge success in the Indian Football scene, we never got to see a rivalry between any clubs. This is set to change this season with the introduction of Mohun Bagan and East Bengal in place of Atletico de Kolkata. Moreover, Mohun Bagan won their first fixture of this season against Kerala Blasters by a score line of 1-0 and are looking in good form. Meanwhile, Robbie Fowler takes charge of East Bengal for the first time and he won’t get a bigger game than this in ISL. However, Mohun Bagan currently look like favorites for this match because of the fact that East Bengal have a entirely new squad and will need time to gel together. Although, the lack of fans in the stadium will be a bummer as fans from both sides are eager for the bragging rights in the Kolkata Derby.
Mohun Bagan look like a really strong team on paper. They have a really good forward line of Edu Garcia, Roy Krishna and David Williams and when you combine that with a defense of Sandesh Jhingan and Tiri, we get the ingredients of a Title winning team. However, Soosairaj will be a huge miss for the rest of the season after he ruptured his ACL in the first game against Kerala Blasters. But they have the most successful coach of ISL in Antonio Habas and he will no doubt find a solution.
Meanwhile, East Bengal couldn’t get a more difficult match than this as they start their journey in ISL. But their coach, Robbie Fowler won’t be over awed by the occasion as he has won a lot of derbies in his career. The team is new but consists of some good forwards in Jeje, Pilkington and Balwant Singh. Moreover, they also have a quality defense consisting of Danny Fox and Scott Nevile.
Fowler is excited about the derby and said, “The derbies are huge games. They mean a lot to the fans and of course, they mean a lot to the players. But the important thing is you got to go into them and try to use your head. You got to try and be sensible.”
The history between these two clubs in huge as they have played around 353 matches against each other. East Bengal do hold a slight edge as they have won 127 fixtures compared to 111 by Mohun Bagan. However, in the last match between them Mohun Bagan won the fixture 2-1 and they will be looking to continue the winning streak. Now the rivalry has moved to the ISL and both teams will looking to make their mark in the competition.
East Bengal: Sankar, Scott Neville, Danny Fox, Gurtej, Narayan, Matti Steinmann, Lyngdoh, Narayan Das; Anthony Pilkington, Jacques Maghoma, Jeje
Mohun Bagan: Arindam, Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Tiri; Prabir Das, Pronay, Carl McHugh, Subhasish Bose, Hernandez, Williams, Roy Krishna
We predict the match to be East Bengal 1-2 Mohun Bagan.