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regular-article-logo Monday, 22 July 2024

ATK Mohun Bagan outfox SC East Bengal in first ISL Derby

David Williams and Manvinder Singh on the score sheet for Bagan

Souvik Mukherjee Panaji Published 27.11.20, 11:13 PM
ATKMB players celebrate as Manvinder Singh seals the match with his goal.

ATKMB players celebrate as Manvinder Singh seals the match with his goal. Instagram/ @indiansuperleague

ATK Mohun Bagan put up a clinical show to triumph over their fierce rivals SC East Bengal 2-0 in a closely fought encounter in the Indian Super League.

The passion of the Calcutta derby mixed with the grandeur of the Indian Super League (ISL) provided the two sides a new stage to renew their century-old rivalry with the only difference being that the match, instead of being played in a jam-packed Yuva Bharati Krirangan, was taking place at the crowd-less Tilak Maidan in Vasco.

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ATKMB coach Antonio Lopez Habas started with a 3-5-2 formation with his talismanic striker Roy Krishna spearheading the attack. SCEB’s coach Robbie Fowler, on the other hand, adopted the traditional British approach of long-balls to break the three-man defence of ATKMB.

The first major chance in the game came to SCEB when Anthony Pilkington found himself in front of the goal but a tackle from Bagan captain Pritam Kotal took the ball away from the Red and Gold striker before he could make the shot.

ATKMB grew into the game, as Pritam Kotal and Prabir Das started making runs from the right giving young SCEB left-back Narayan Das a hard time.

Pritam Kotal, chosen to lead the side this year, had an unforgettable game. From hitting the bar with a cross to making inch-perfect tackles and blocks to deny Pilkington a clear opportunity on goal, he boosted the morale of all his teammates with an all-round display.

East Bengal, on the other hand, kept possession of the ball but failed to test Bagan Goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya. In fact, the only decent save Arindam had to make was a shot from Pilkington on the 83rd minute.

ATKMB coach’s gameplan of dominating the opposition in the middle of the park worked as the pair of Carl McHugh and Javi Hernandez, having found pockets of space to work with, used it to their advantage.

SCEB Goalkeeper Debjit Majumder had a good game, making a world-class save from a Javi Hernandez shot but did not have much to do in case of the goals.

The first goal for ATKMB came just as the game resumed after half-time. Roy Krishna, who did not have much to do throughout the first half, received a deflected ball just outside the box. The Fijian striker unleashed a vicious shot on his left foot which found the back of the net from the left side of a diving Debjit.

ATKMB took their time to seal the game and the moment finally came in the dying stages of the match when substitute Manvinder Singh taking advantage of SCEB’s desperation to equalise, made a darting run from the right with the ball. He cut in from the left, dodged a defender and curled the ball calmly past the outstretched hands of Majumder into the top left corner of the net.

The celebration after the second goal by ATKMB and the dejected-looking sullen faces of SCEB spoke volumes, bearing an indication of what the match meant for the players. The battle between the Calcutta giants may be taking baby steps in the new tournament, but the emotions remain the same.

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