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Barreto in rewind mode, picks his best Derby ties

Barreto, who is on 'sort of a vacation' in Brazil, doesn’t watch Calcutta football much these days

By Angshuman Roy in Calcutta
  • Published 30.08.19, 3:07 AM
  • Updated 30.08.19, 3:07 AM
  • 3 mins read
Jose Ramirez Barreto Telegraph picture

Jose Ramirez Barreto remains the highest scorer for a club in Derby history. Bhaichung Bhutia has 19 against his name but that’s for East Bengal (13 goals) and Mohun Bagan (6). Barreto though scored 17 goals and all in Bagan shirt.

“Derbies are always special. There was a time between 2006-2008 when we used to beat East Bengal regularly,” the Brazilian told The Telegraph from Porto Alegre.

Barreto, who is on “sort of a vacation” in Brazil, doesn’t watch Calcutta football much these days. “I get to know the results. That’s all. But I know on Sunday the arch-rivals will meet in the season’s first Derby,” he said. Barreto was asked to pick five of the memorable Derbies he had been part of. The soft-spoken Brazilian took a trip down memory lane.

Here are Barreto’s favourite five (chronologically):

NFL Derby, April 2007 (Mohun Bagan 2 East Bengal 1)

This will remain special because of the simple reason that the then Fifa president Sepp Blatter was at the ground. I had told my teammates that we should put up a great performance so that Bagan would remain etched in Blatter’s mind. There was a crowd of around 70,000 at the ground and I scored a great goal. I got a cross from the right in the 16-yard box and was a few steps behind and the only way to connect it was to jump and head it with power because of the distance. I did that and fortunately the ball hit the back of the net. Douglas Da Silva, my good friend, scored the winner with a free-header. It was a double delight. Beating East Bengal on Poila Boishak.

CFL Derby return leg, November 2007 (Mohun Bagan 2 East Bengal 0)

That’s the only Derby where I scored two goals. And the first one remains my all-time favourite Derby goal. Dharamjit (Singh)’s long punt was from the centre line and I made a diagonal run from the right. The first touch was superb and then a low left-footed shot even though two East Bengal defenders were breathing down my neck. The shot went like a bullet. What a goal it was! I still watch it on Youtube. And every time I watch the goal, it gives me immense satisfaction. The second was a penalty after Bhaichung (Bhutia) was brought down inside the box.

Federation Cup semi-final, December 2008 (Mohun Bagan 5 [1] East Bengal 3 [1])

That’s the best Derby I have played. Mohun Bagan were trailing by a Sanju Pradhan goal and I scored the equaliser. Marcos Pereira’s free-kick was from the left, and I headed in at a very crucial stage of the match. In the tie-breaker, I scored again. In terms of technique and style, that would remain a memorable match for me. It was a fast-paced Derby with both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal giving their all. Our coach was Karim Bencharifa and that season Bagan played some really exciting football. We went on to win the Federation Cup literally toying with Dempo SC.

I-League Derby, May 2010 (Mohun Bagan 2 East Bengal 1)

Japanese Ryuji Sueoka was the standout performer in that match. I scored the first goal and Snehashish Chakraborty got the second. Sueoka got behind the East Bengal backline and came up with an out of the world cross from the right flank. I was running in the opposite direction so had to improvise to head past Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. I also must add that the East Bengal defenders could have done better. But the goal still gives me immense pleasure.

I-League Derby, February 2011 (Mohun Bagan 1 East Bengal 1)

It was a rough match. A glut of yellow cards and a couple of red cards too. East Bengal were the favourites to win that Derby. Trevor James Morgan was the coach of East Bengal and he built a very competitive and confident side. It was not easy to play East Bengal those days. Every team used to be scared of Morgan’s men. Talking about the match, Sanju Pradhan had converted a penalty to give East Bengal an early lead. Twenty minutes later, I scored the equaliser off a Surkumar Singh centre. It was at the near post and I was the first to react. We did not win, but fought gallantly against a top-class side.