Derby “Double” keeps title hunt alive for East Bengal
It is celebration time for the Red and Gold fans as they have claimed the bragging rights for the second time in succession in the prestigious Kolkata Derby after winning 2-0 against arch rivals Mohun Bagan on Sunday evening.
Mohun Bagan had an early set-back after their starman Yuta Kinowaki had to be taken off the first eleven after he pulled his calf muscle during the warm-up, Darren Caldera was named instead. The game began with both sides trying to dominate the midfield with the mariners pilling up early pressure!
East Bengal back four comprising Lalramchullova, Jhonny Acosta, Borja Gomez and Kamalpreet who was playing as a Left back for the first time, along with Kassim Aidaara were ready for the situation and won battles in the midfield, keeping Sony Norde and Omar from running the show. The Red and Gold midfield pressed high and won the second balls which brought them into the game after the first 10 minutes. It was none other than Joby Justin, who won the ball from Kingsley on the right flank and put in a perfect grounded cross to Jaime Santos, who dodged past Kima to place the ball home past the incoming Shilton Pal to give East Bengal the lead in the 35th minute. The game ended 1-0 at Halftime.
Mohun Bagan went all out to equalise after the break and Dipanda Dika managed to put the ball into the net in the 53rd minute however the referee was correct to raise his flag for offside as the ball struck Darren Caldera before going in who was clearly in an off-side position. East Bengal increased the lead in the 76th minute and it was again Joby Justin who scored a beautiful header from a Lalrindika Ralte corner. Joby Justin now has 8 goals in 13 appearances this season in the I League which includes goals in the both Kolkata Derby. East Bengal managed to hold onto the lead and won the second Derby of the season.
East Bengal fans too won the game outside the field as they amazed the crowd with the largest Tifo, around 7200 sq feet in size, ever made in Indian football depicting the struggle of the ancestors who had to leave their homeland due to the partition.
This was the third time and first time since 2003-04 that the Red and Gold brigade achieved a League “Derby Double”. The overall figures of the Derby are as follows :
Competitive Matches – EB 127 MB 109 Draw 113
Exhibition Matches – EB 2 MB 9 Draw 7
Overall – EB 129 MB 118 Draw 120