I-League: East Bengal and Mohun Bagan play out hotly contested 1-1 draw
A well-fought Kolkata derby between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan ended in a 1-1 draw on Saturday. The match between the defending I-League champions Mohun Bagan and their arch-rivals East Bengal saw some very competitive play, with both teams taking advantage of the chances that they created.
Though the match lacked in flair compared to previous installments, it did not lack for intensity as both teams ensured they gave their best and did not lost, keeping their pride intact.
East Bengal started the match on the attack, with Rahul Bheke’s overlapping runs on the right coming very useful. A beautiful cross from the right-back found its way to BIkash Jairu on the left, who put a ball back into the box, but Kinshuk Debnath’s intervention prevented the situation from worsening for Mohun Bagan.
Soon after, a lovely piece of skill from Jairu saw him dummy Kotal and get on the end of Saumik’s precise pass. Jairu’s inviting cross was then cleared away by Souvik Chakraborty as Martins was looking to get on the end of the ball.
As the half progressed, Mohun Bagan began controlling more of the ball, and looked to unleash Katsumi Yusa and Sony Norde at every opportunity. A lovely pass from Katsumi almost found its way to Norde on the left, but Glen’s intervention while in an offside position prevented the creation of an actual opportunity. Norde was then sent through by a great pass from Pronoy Halder, but the Haitian’s cross was poor and Arnab cleared the danger.
The remainder of the first half saw barely any clearcut chance created, with the only actual moment of goalmouth action coming when Dong’s header flew just wide of Debjit’s goal. The strikers of both teams, East Bengal’s Ranti Martins and Mohun Bagan’s Glen Cornell, were isolated and couldn’t get into the game at all.
The second half saw defending champions Bagan start on a much brighter note, with Glen involved from the beginning. A peach of a pass from Katsumi saw Glen get a sight of goal and his shot was parried wide by Rehenesh in the East Bengal goal. Immediately after that, Do Dong unleashed a shot from distance which was saved well by Debjit.
Following a lull period, the next meaningful attack in the 63rd minute saw East Bengal take the lead through Ranti Martins. A ball over the top from Jairu was judged beautifully by Ranti, whose first-time volley gave Debjit no chance. The red and gold brigade went on the offensive trying to double their lead soon after, but couldn’t score.
After the away side controlled the match for a bit, Mohun Bagan hit back through striker Glen Cornell, leveling the match. A free-kick from Sony Norde found the head of Cornell, whose powerful header was too strong for Rehenesh as the ball went in despite a solid hand by the goalkeeper.
Bagan went in search of the winner with Norde involved heavily as East Bengal did their best to hold on. A couple of dangerous crosses were put into the East Bengal box by the Bagan wingers, but the defense marshalled by Razzaq and Mondal held firm.
A rare foray by East Bengal into the Bagan half saw them awarded a free-kick. Taken by Dong, it sailed just over the crossbar. The final attempt on goal was from Glen again, whose header was very well saved by Rehenesh in goal.
The 1-1 draw sees both teams remain unbeaten in the league, with Bagan staying on top with 7 points from 3 matches. East Bengal now have 5 points from 3 matches.