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Match Preview: Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal

Mohun Bagan is currently at the top of the league table without having lost a single match. East Bengal, on the other hand, is placed at the fifth position five points behind their rivals.

Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal

The biggest football match in the country will take place on Saturday at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Kolkata. This will possibly be the penultimate derby of the 2014-15 season. The other derby last month resulted in a 1-1 draw.

Mohun Bagan is currently at the top of the league table without having lost a single match. East Bengal, on the other hand, is placed at the fifth position five points behind their rivals.

In a match where favourites cannot be predicted, Mohun Bagan looks a more balanced side compared to East Bengal. The green and maroon brigade is also in a better position in the league. For a change, Mohun Bagan will start this battle of pride on a slightly higher ground – they look a more formidable side. But in this classic derby, odds turn quickly and the underdogs often triumph. Pride is at stake and the teams must battle it out for 3 points in the Kolkata derby – the most history-laden football match in the nation.

Venue

Kolkata’s Yuba Bharati Krirangan will be hosting the derby match on Saturday, 28th March. Yuba Bharati is a multipurpose stadium which is generally used by the clubs from Kolkata as their home ground in the I-League. The stadium has a capacity of 1,20,000 seats.

Kick-off

March 28, 2015: 4:30 pm – India (IST)

Possible Starting line ups

East Bengal (4-4-2): Subhashish Roy Chowdhury; Deepak Mondal, Milan Susak, Arnab Mondal, Robert Lalthlamuana; Mama, Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Mehtab Hossain, Lalrindika Ralte; Ranti Martins, Dudu Omagbemi

Eelco Schattorie will be present for his maiden derby appearance as East Bengal coach on Saturday on the bench. While the attack is delivering well for the Dutch coach, his main concern will be his defence. In the last two matches – one AFC Cup game and one I-League game – the East Bengal defence has miserably failed thereby letting the entire team down.

They lost their AFC cup match against Balestier Khalsa owing to terrible defending and drew against Sporting Clube de Goa last Saturday even after taking a two goal lead. This time around, the defence has to deliver against a strong Mohun Bagan attack force. Pride is only one of the things at stake.

Likely formations

Mohun Bagan (4-4-2): Debjit Majumder, Kingshuk Debnath, Sukhen Dey, Bello Rasaq, Dhanachandra Singh; Bikramjit Singh, Souvik Chakraborty, Katsumi Yusa, Sony Norde; Pierre Boya, Balwant Singh

Sanjoy Sen is likely to make just two changes in the starting lineup from last week’s Dempo game, which they won 2-0. Shehnaj Singh, who was shown a red card last game, will be replaced by Bikramjit Singh and Haitian international Sony Norde will be back in the side after serving a one-match ban.

Bagan will be high on confidence before this high voltage game. They are currently unbeaten in the I-League are comfortably placed at the top of the league table.

Key Battles

Sony Norde

Sony Norde vs Milan Susak & Deepak Mondal

Sony Norde is one of the best foreigners in this year’s Hero I-League. He joined the Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan this season from Bangladeshi club Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi. The Haitian international has played extremely well so far in the tournament and has been the most important member of the unbeaten Mohun Bagan side in this year’s I-League.

Australian defender Milan Susak and right-back Deepak Mondal will have to keep Norde under check. His speedy and swift runs down the left flank must be stopped in order to protect the East Bengal defence.

Ranti Martins

Ranti Martins vs Bello Rasaq

The Nigerian goal machine is the most successful player for East Bengal in this season so far. Ranti Martins is scoring in almost every game for his club. So far he has scored 12 goals from 8 matches. All eyes will be on Ranti as he will be the target man upfront.

Bello Rasaq will have to play really well to stop his compatriot on the field. Ranti vs Bello will be surely one of the most attractive battles on the field tomorrow.

Prediction

Mohun Bagan 1-1 East Bengal

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