Home FOOTBALL ISL (Indian Super League) ISL 2020-21: ATK Mohun Bagan win the first Kolkata Derby in ISL...

ISL 2020-21: ATK Mohun Bagan win the first Kolkata Derby in ISL history by beating SC East Bengal


The iconic Kolkata derby which has famously served the Indian fans with some delightful games over the last century and which is probably Asia’s biggest derby took center-stage in ISL for the first time. Roy Krishna and Manvir Singh light up the derby for ATK Mohun Bagan with sparkling goals as Robbie Fowler’s SC East Bengal failed to capture the headlines in the derby as ATKMB won the game 2-0.

Image Source: Star Sports Football Twitter

Derbies can usually be very bipolar in nature, that is either they can be end to end with a lot of action as both fans urge their teams to beat their rivals while it can also be a cagey affair with both teams not wanting to be on the losing end of what is at stake. The Kolkata derbies are usually a feisty affair but with the classy managers like Antonio Habas and Robbie Fowler going head-to-head, it was also going to be a tactical affair.

The game started in a very end to end fashion as ATK Mohun Bagan decided to go toe to toe with SC East Bengal in the opening exchanges. Neither side really got an early grip on the game with the midfield being a key enforcer. An early penalty shout for East Bengal was rejected by the referee after Anthony Pilkington, the former Norwich midfielder, went down under the challenge by the Mohun Bagan defender but the tackle was deemed too soft for a penalty.

The next 10-15 minutes saw good crossing by both sets of teams with Prabir Das and Anthony Pilkington being at the forefront for their respective teams. The ATK Mohun Bagan wing-back Prabir did try to catch the East Bengal goalie off guard a couple of times with his cross-cum-shot efforts, but Debjit Majumder confidently fisted both efforts away. Maghoma also missed a good opportunity for East Bengal when his header looped over the crossbar.

An enterprising move by SC East Bengal in the 38th minute ended up with Surchandra digging out a wonderful cross on the plate for Balwant Singh who fluffed his lines from a couple of yards out and ATK Mohun Bagan had a sigh of relief as they closed the game until half-time with a 0-0 scoreline. East Bengal had 64% possession in the first half and Mohun Bagan were really unable to get Roy Krishna in the game as they would have preferred to in spite of their counter-attacking style.

Roy Krishna came out with determination in the second half as ATK Mohun Bagan started the second half of the Kolkata derby in grand fashion as a lovely move culminated by Javi Hernandez’s pass to Roy Krishna who buried a strong left-foot shot into the back of the net to put East Bengal on the backfoot immediately and make the scoreline 1-0 in favor of ATKMB.

With the lead taken, Antonio Habas set his team up to only play on the counter and defend deep with made it incredibly difficult for East Bengal to break the backline of ATK Mohun Bagan. They did have a few promising moments, but those were either blocked, tackled or cleared away by the ATKMB defenders. The game looked set to play in this fashion until the final whistle and Manvir Singh came on for Mohun Bagan to add a little pace and directness into the break.

The game really spiced up in the last 10 minutes as it started with a stunning pile driver from Pilkington which was saved expertly by Arindam. On the counter-attack of the resulting corner, Prabir Das set Manvir Singh through over the halfway line with a hopeful long ball which Manvir steamed ahead of his marker to get to the ball. As Manvir dribbled towards the byline, he saw no real opportunity to cross the ball into a fellow attacker. So he took the ball from the right byline and dribbled past a couple of defenders and shifted to his left boot to unleash a crisp finish in the top left-hand corner. A stunning goal made it 2-0 in favor of ATK Mohun Bagan and destroyed any remaining hopes for SC East Bengal in their opening ISL game.

In stoppage time both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal missed their chances to score a goal but the result remained unaffected in any case. With just 33% of the ball, Antonio Habas masterminded a counter-attacking win against Robbie Fowler in the Kolkata derby. A victory to savor for the ATK Mohun Bagan fans but the SC East Bengal fans had plenty to be proud of their team given their circumstances.

Midfield enforcer Carl McHugh won the Hero of the Match award for his impressive offensive and defensive output from midfield but it was Manvir and Krishna who grabbed the headlines. Bengaluru takes on Hyderabad in the Saturday evening encounter at 7:30 pm. Cheers!


Also Read: NEUFC snatch a point against KBFC with a last-minute stunner by Sylla


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