CFL 2017 Season Review: How East Bengal beat Mohun Bagan to win 39th title on goal difference
The 2017-18 Indian football season has just begun and it is already up and running in Kolkata with the Calcutta Football League 2017 ending recently. East Bengal finished top of the table with 23 points, tied with arch-rivals Mohun Bagan, only edging the Mariners out on goal difference on the final day.
Here is a review of Kolkata's big two in the CFL 2017.
EAST BENGAL: The season kicked off with defending champions East Bengal hosting new entrants New Barrackpore Rainbow AC at a packed East Bengal Stadium. The Red and Golds started the proceedings in explosive fashion by running out 4-1 winners with VP Suhair scoring a memorable hat-trick. Brandon Vanlalremdika scored the fourth one while Chottu Mondal pulled back a consolation for the north Kolkata side.
MOHUN BAGAN: Mohun Bagan kicked off their season with a 3-0 win over 2nd Division I-League side Southern Samity at a packed Mohun Bagan Ground. Agogo, Azharuddin Mallick and Shilton de Silva found the net for the Green and Maroons.
EAST BENGAL: East Bengal kept their first clean sheet of the season as central defender Carlyle Deon Mitchell scored a brace in the dying moments of the game to clinch a 2-0 win over Calcutta Customs.
MOHUN BAGAN: A staggering second half led to an another 3-0 win for the Mariners, this time over Railway FC with Chesterpoul Lyngdoh, Bayi Kamo and Shilton finding the net.
EAST BENGAL: East Bengal registered a big win over Peerless SC with a 5-1 scoreline. Misfiring striker Willis Plaza got the opening goal, Gabriel scoring the second while Surabuddin Mollick got himself a quickfire hat-trick. Syed Rahim Nabi got the consolation for Peerless.
MOHUN BAGAN: The Mariners and Pathachakra indulged in a goal fest as Mohun Bagan ran away with a 5-2 win in round three. Kamo got four goals to his name and Ansumanah Kromah scored the fifth goal. Nadong Bhutia and Joel Sunday scored the Men in Purple.
EAST BENGAL: East Bengal registered their fourth consecutive win in the CFL with a 3-0 romp over Southern Samity at the East Bengal Ground on a day overcast by clouds. Syrian midfielder Al Amna got his first goal of the season and so did Laldanmawia Ralte along with Samad Ali Mollick.
MOHUN BAGAN: Strikers Kamo and Kromah scored on either side of the half Ttme break to clinch a 2-0 win for Bagan over Calcutta Customs.
EAST BENGAL: The boys from Kerala scored to hand East Bengal a comfortable 3-0 win over Railway FC. VP Suhair scored a brace while Joby Justin got his first goal of the season.
MOHUN BAGAN: Youngster Nikhil Kadam found the net along with Kromah as the Mariners ran out 2-0 winners against Tollygunge Agragami.
EAST BENGAL: East Bengal survived a major scare as they managed to get a 2-1 win over Pathachakra after trailing 0-1 courtesy a goal from Jagannath Orao. East Bengal came back with goals from Brandon Vanlalremdika and a controversial penalty which was converted by Al Amna.
MOHUN BAGAN: Mohun Bagan suffered their first hiccup of the season as they were held 1-1 by New Barrackpore Rainbow AC. Suraj Mahato gave the lead for the new boys while Kromah restored parity in the second half.
EAST BENGAL: East Bengal played out a 2-2 draw in the season’s first derby against 2nd Division I-League side Mohammedan SC at the Kalyani Stadium which blew the title race open. Al Amna scored the opening goal while Jiten Murmu equalized. The Black Panthers went on to take the lead as they found the net on the counter through Dipanda Dicka. Plaza secured one point for the Red and Golds through a late equalizer.
MOHUN BAGAN: Mohun Bagan also faced the Blank Panthers in the same round and ran out 2-1 winners. The Black Panthers gave the Mariners a scare after they took the lead courtesy a goal from SK Faiaz. Mohun Bagan restored parity and completed the comeback with a brace from Azharuddin Mollick.
EAST BENGAL: Plaza got his first ever hattrick in India against Tollygunge Agragami. Nikhil Poojary got his first goal of the season while Laldanmawia Ralte also landed on the scoresheet to register a big 5-0 win.
MOHUN BAGAN: Mohun Bagan got a comfortable 2-1 win over Peerless SC which was mired by controversies as the Mariners were rewarded an unconvincing penalty in the second half. Nikhil Kadam and Kamo scored for the Mariners in either half.
ROUND 9: THE KOLKATA DERBY
It was all down to this as East Bengal hosted arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in the title-deciding derby in Siliguri with over 20,000 fans thronging the stands. East Bengal needed a draw to clinch the title while the Mariners needed an outright win.
Mohun Bagan took the lead through a horrible own goal by East Bengal defender Mitchell, which was deflected in off an attempt to clear away Azharuddin Mollick's cross-shot. East Bengal hit back with a well-rehearsed free-kick as Laldanmawia Ralte scored for the Red and Golds.
Thereafter, Mohun Bagan were awarded a penalty, which Kamo scored to put them ahead for the second time. East Bengal were also awarded a controversial penalty to which Al Amna rose to the occasion by making It 2-2. Both the teams went defensive by the time the referee blew the full-time whistle.
East Bengal were thus, crowned champions of the 2017 CFL: Calcutta Football League for the 39th time - Mohun Bagan have 29 titles only - thus winning it for the eighth consecutive season; this time on a superior goal difference.