After being undefeated in all the games, the stage is set for the decades old arch-rivals Mohun Bagan and East Bengal to battle it out in the ever intensive Kolkata Derby on 2nd September in the iconic Yuva Bharati Krirangan, also known as the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.
The much-anticipated encounter will be the first Calcutta Football League Derby in the newly renovated Salt Lake Stadium. The last CFL Derby played here was way back in 2015 when Do Dong Hyun's brace guided East Bengal to an emphatic 4-0 win over Mohun Bagan.
Mohun Bagan come into this game at the back of a 2-0 win over Aryan Club. The Mariners have clinched six wins and a draw from seven games, and are top of the of the table with 19 points with a +13 Goal difference.
East Bengal also have six wins and a draw from their seven games with equal points and identical goal difference (+13). However, the Red and Golds are second in the standings courtesy their inferior goals forced ratio i.e 14 compared to Mohun Bagan's 16. East Bengal registered a hard-fought 2-1 win over Geroge Telegraph in the last Calcutta Football League tie.
With Johnny Acosta finally signing on the dotted lines for East Bengal in the IFA office, the Costa Rican is all set to make his East Bengal debut at the professional level on Sunday when he takes to the field against arch-rivals Mohun Bagan.
Lalrozama Fanai still stays injured and it out of the team. Brandon Vanlalremdika has suffered a slight nick during the matches and can be kept out from action.
The Squad : Sanchayan, Prakash, Lalchanhima, Ginkaholen, Yami, Suranjit, Rahul, Mirshad, Bidyasagar Singh, Brandon, Manoj Mohammed, Gurmukh, Kaushik, Samad Ali (C), Rakshit Dagar (GK), Jobi Justin, Lalrindika Ralte, Laldanmawia, Aidara, Mehtab, Gagandeep, Surabuddin, Al-Amna, Abhra Mondal, Lalramchullova, Kamalpreet Singh, Kingshuk, Acosta, Ubaid
Predicted Line-up for East Bengal (4-4-2) : Dagar (GK), Acosta, Mehtab, Kinsghuk, Lalramchullova, Kassim, Amna, Brandon, Laldanmawia, Surabuddin, Jobby
With Dicka and Henry among the goals along with Arijit Bagui and Azharuddin at the flanks, the Bagan line up is expected to be an unchanged one. The Bagan side have been scoring at tandem in the league so far, thus it should not be a problem for Coach Shankarlal Chakrabarty in picking up the team.
Squad : Shilton Paul, Shankar Roy, Kingsley Obumneme, Gurjinder Kumar, Arijit Bagui, Britto PM, Amey Ranawade, Abhishek Ambekar, Lalchhawnkima, Shilton D'Silva, Pintu Mahata, Mehtab Hossain, Sourav Das, Abhinas Ruidas, Tirthankar Sarkar, William Lalnunfela, Dipanda Dicka, Henry Kisekka, Azhuaruddin Mallick, Sourav Das, Abhinas Ruidas, Tirthankar Sarkar, William Lalnunfela, Dipanda Dicka, Henry Kisekka, Azharuddin Mallick, Moinuddin Khan
Predicted Line-up for Mohun Bagan (4-4-1-1): Shilton (GK), Ambekar, Gurjinder, Eze Kingsley, Britto, Sourav Das, Shilton de Silva, Arijit Bagui, Pintu Mahata, Kisekka, Dicka
Mahmoud Al-Amna: Al-Amna's excellent ability of hold up play will provide enough time for the two wingers at the flanks to draw their runs for effective wing play. The Syrian has been instrumental in creating numerous chances upfront in the ongoing Calcutta Football League as well as in the previous season.
Al-Amna's presence in the midfield provides stability which is key to East Bengal's chances today as the Bastob Roy led side will play without any foreign forwards unlike the opponents.
Dipanda Dicka: The Cameroonian has racked up 7 goals in 4 games, making him one of the top strikers in the league. Dicka scored twice in the Kolkata Derby way back in January, making him a household name in Kolkata.
The Cameroonian is omnipotent in the box and is at the right place at the right time. With East Bengal all set to field Acosta, the onus will be on Dicka to allow Kisekka free space upfront and notch up the goals.
The Derbies are seldom a high scoring affair, and today's game is no different. With Acosta at the back, East Bengal will surely have a compact and resilient defense but they lack quality upfront. On the contrary, Bagan have some quality names in the striking department with problems at the back.
The Derby can finish in a 1-1 draw.
Tell us your predictions in the comment section.