East Bengal hold on to defeat Mohun Bagan 2-1 in thrilling Kolkata derby
East Bengal gave themselves a shot in the I-League title race with a thrilling 2-1 win over Mohun Bagan in the Kolkata derby in Siliguri on Saturday. A brace from substitute Do Dong-hyun was enough for the Red and gold brigade to hold on, with Katsumi Yusa pulling one back for the Mariners, in a game that came as a welcome distraction for the people of Kolkata, after the tragedy that befell the city on Thursday, with the Flyover collapse.
Mohun Bagan, the defending I-League champions, started the match brightly, with Cornell Glen especially getting a few chances to get clear on goal, but his shooting let him down as he couldn’t capitalize and give his team the lead. The Mariners kept getting free-kicks in dangerous positions as East Bengal players kept fouling incessantly, but the setpieces didn’t get Bagan the goal they so craved.
The best chance of the first half fell to Jeje after he exchanged a lovely one-two with Glen, but the ball was nicked away from him just in time as he looked to pull the trigger. East Bengal were living dangerously, feeding off scraps and looking to get the long ball in to Bernard Mendy, who was playing as the player furthest forward, ahead of dangerman Ranti Martins.
East Bengal created their first chance when a cross from the left found Mendy, but no one was in the right place to reach his flick on. Soon after, they took the lead from the penalty spot, after Ranti Martins was fouled by Luciano Sabrosa inside the box, after the Brazilian tugged at the Nigerian’s shirt. Do Dong-hyun stepped up and scored, after having come on a little while ago for Abinash Ruidas.
The second half was much more open and saw both teams go for it, with Mohun Bagan creating many good possibillities for chances, but East Bengal kept clearing the danger. The 55th minute saw Glen put the ball in the back of the net, but the effort was ruled out for offside.
Just on the hour mark, Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Debjit had to pull off a double save, keeping out East Bengal from doubling their lead. Just after that, Bello Rassaq had to pull off a crazy clearance off the line, and the defence cleared the danger.
East Bengal doubled their lead on the 74th minute, as Do Dong showed great composure to turn his marker, dribble past Kingshuk Debnath and finished with aplomb past Debjit. This was the second time the Korean had scored a brace against Mohun Bagan, having done it previously in the Calcutta Football League.
Mohun Bagan pulled one goal back through Japanese winger Katsumi Yusa, whose thumping header from Pritam Kotal gave Barreto no chance. The I-League champions had a chance to get the win, as Sehnaj fouled Jeje inside the box in the 94th minute, resulting in a penalty for them. However, Jeje’s weak penalty was saved easily by Barreto, taking East Bengal to the victory.
The result sees East Bengal close the gap on to Mohun Bagan to two points, with the Mariners having played one match more. East Bengal are currently 2nd, on 23 points, with Bagan on 25. Bengaluru FC lie in third, with 22 points.