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Season’s first CFL derby on August 3

Calcutta: City giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan will cross swords for the first time in the season in the Sahara Calcutta Football League Premier Division on August 3, according to the fixture released by the Indian Football Association (IFA) on Tuesday.

The return leg of the exhibition match is scheduled on August 31, the same day the CFL Premier Division is scheduled to end.

Eight clubs — East Bengal, Mohun Bagan, Mohammedan Sporting, Chirag United, Peerless, George Telegraph, Calcutta Port Trust and Railway FC — will play 56 matches among themselves in the league.

STAR Ananda, which has acquired the television rights of the league, will telecast some matches live.

Asked about the crammed schedule of the oldest league in the country — 56 matches will be played over seven weeks — IFA secretary Utpal Ganguly blamed it on the unavailability of grounds and the forthcoming I-League, scheduled to start in September.

“We have to complete it before September, otherwise we will run into the fixtures of the Durand Cup and the I-League. We also don’t have enough grounds to hold matches,” Ganguly said.

He, however, said that the problems related to ground and the I-league will be sorted out before the next edition of the league.

According to the fixtures, Mohun Bagan will play their first match on Friday against Peerless, while East Bengal take on Calcutta Port Trust on Monday.

Meanwhile, George Telegraph beat Peerless by a solitary goal in the opening match of the Calcutta Football League Premier Division at the Mohun Bagan ground on Tuesday.

Under-19 footballer Mithun Saha netted the only goal of the match in the 18th minute from the top of the box.

Madoaki Francis’ square pass from the left found an unmarked Mithun, whose grounder beat the rival goalkeeper on the right.

George Telegraph midfielder Rahul Bhattacharjee wasted the best chance of the match, when he failed to finish an easy chance even after dribbling past the custodian. He was guilty of holding the ball for too long.

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