Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal
Federation Cup 2017 semi-final
Kick-off time: 7 PM IST
Venue: Barabati Stadium, Cuttack
Live on Ten 2
The big Kolkata rivalry between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal is set to grace the Federation Cup semi-finals later today as the two big guns of Indian football clash in neutral territory of the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack, Odisha.
Mohun Bagan come into this game having won two of their three group stage games, while East Bengal finished second behind Aizawl FC in the other group.
Both teams are unbeaten in the Federation Cup so far and will be motivated to get one past their fiercest rivals today.
Bagan’s recent form reads DWWLW, with that loss being a 5–2 humbling at the hands of Maldivian outfit Maziya in the AFC Cup last month. For East Bengal, results in their last five outings read DWDWW. The Mariners finished the recently concluded I-League season in second place, while East Bengal finished a place below in third.
Sanjoy Sen’s Mariners are the top scorers in the Federation Cup 2017 with eight goals, while East Bengal are the joint-lowest scoring team with three goals. However, Ranjan Chaudhuri’s Red and Golds have kept the most number of clean sheets — two — in the tournament so far. On paper, today’s derby is a battle between attack and defence but all these things are inconsequential on derby day.
As far as individual players are concerned, East Bengal’s Robin Singh is level on the number of goals scored with Bagan’s Darryl Duffy with two. That aside, the Mariners’ Sony Norde also has two Federation Cup 2017 goals to his name, as does Balwant Singh. East Bengal goalkeeper Subhasish Roy Choudhury has kept the most number of clean sheets thus far.
There are no injury absentees and suspensions for either team.
Mohun Bagan: Debjit, Eduardo, Anas, Kotal, Bose, Katsumi, Souvik, Sehnaj, Norde, Duffy, Balwant.
East Bengal: Subhasish, Bukenya, Gurwinder, Bheke, Narayan, Mehtab, Borges, Jairu, Anselme, Robin, Plaza.
A closely fought encounter is on the cards, and we might even witness the game going the full distance with extra time and penalties. As Sen noted: “A knockout match means there is a high probability of the game going towards a tie-breaker. I have lost twice and won once in tie-breakers in the past with my two former clubs, United SC and Mohammedan SC. So, I have learnt from my experience,” Bagan will be well-prepared for any shootout eventuality.
Defending champions Bagan will go all out in a bid to not finish their 2016–17 season trophyless, while Chaudhuri will try to ensure that he is the right man to lead East Bengal with a derby win. The last Kolkata derby ended 2–1 in Bagan’s favour, thereby sparking internal disputes at East Bengal which led to Trevor Morgan’s departure.
The Kolkata derby has always meant dire consequences for the losing team, hence a lot is at stake later today. The match kicks off at 7 PM IST.