The first Kolkata Derby of the 2019-20 season ended in a 0-0 draw as both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan shared the spoils. Both the teams had plenty of chances but missed the cutting edge in the final third to inflict the blow.
East Bengal began the game with a 4-4-2 formation with Lalthuammawia Ralte starting between the sticks. The quartet of Mehtab Singh, Marti Crespi, Kamalpreet Singh, and Abhishek Ambekar completed the back-four. Kassim Aidara and Lalrindika Ralte played in the centre of the park and Brandon Vanlalremdika and Pintu Mahata galloped down the wings. Marcos Jimenez de la Espada and Ronaldo Oliveira, who got his first start, shared the responsibilities of scoring goals.
Mohun Bagan, on the other hand, played in a 4-5-1 formation. Debjit Majumder guarded the goal and Ashutosh Mehta, Francisco Morante, Gurjinder Kumar, and Lalramchullova took charge of the defensive proceedings of the game. SK Sahil, Surabuddin Mullick, Francisco Gonzalez, Nongdamba Naorem, and Joseba Beitia manned the midfield whereas Suhair VP played as the lone man upfront.
#5 Kibu Vicuna reigns supreme in the battle of Spanish tacticians
The first Kolkata Derby of 2019-20 season saw the first time both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan were helmed by Spanish managers. While Alejandro Menendez' East Bengal exploited the wings and pounced on the long balls and dead-ball deliveries from Lalrindika Ralte, Kibu Vicuna's Mohun Bagan took the ground route and carved the defence through silky passing.
The latter bossed the midfield with Joseba Beitia, in particular, creating havoc for the opposition midfield and defence. His combination with Nongdamba Naorem in the left flank was also difficult for the East Bengal defence to contain.
East Bengal grew in stature in the second half and created some goalscoring opportunities. But, Mohun Bagan still had overall control of the game.
In the game of tactical battles, Kibu Vicuna had the upper hand in CFL Kolkata Derby. But, the real battle will be in the I-League.