ATK Mohun Bagan and SC East Bengal will clash in a vital Indian Super League (ISL) fixture at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao on Friday.
ATK Mohun Bagan are currently atop the table with 36 points from 17 matches. The winner of the league stage of the ISL will get to play in the AFC Champions League. The Mariners can't afford to take their foot off the pedal as second-placed Mumbai City FC are just two points behind.
On the other hand, SC East Bengal can't qualify for the playoffs. The ISL debutants have just 17 points from as many matches. Winning all three of their matches will only see SC East Bengal reach 26 points, one behind current fifth-place holders NorthEast United FC.
With SC East Bengal having a subpar ISL debut campaign, they will be desperate to win the Kolkata Derby to give their fans something to cheer about.
ATK Mohun Bagan won the reverse fixture 2-0, courtesy of goals from Roy Krishna and Manvir Singh. However, a lot has changed since then.
SC East Bengal have brought in several Indian players in the January transfer window, with Bright Enobakhare also joining the Red and Gold brigade. Meanwhile, ATK Mohun Bagan have signed the likes of Lenny Rodrigues and Marcelinho to further strengthen their squad.
ATK Mohun Bagan vs SC East Bengal head-to-head
The two Kolkata giants have faced each other over 300 times in the past. But they have crossed paths just once in the ISL thus far, with ATK Mohun Bagan coming out victorious in the reverse fixture.
ATK Mohun Bagan vs SC East Bengal team news
ATK Mohun Bagan are likely to continue with their winning combination in today's game. A resolute back-four of Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhinghan, Tiri, and Subhasish Bose have let in just 10 goals in 17 matches this season.
The midfield duo of Lenny Rodrigues and Carl McHugh will help the Mariners maintain possession in the middle of the mark. While the triumvirate of Manvir Singh, Marcelinho, and David Williams will look to feed Roy Krishna upfront.
SC East Bengal might also field an unchanged side. Sarthak Golui, Raju Gaikwad, Danny Fox, and Narayan Das will form the defense. Ankit Mukherjee, Jacques Maghoma, Matti Steinmann, and Sourav Das will marshal the midfield, with Anthony Pilkington and Bright Enobakhare sharing the goalscoring responsibilities.
ATK Mohun Bagan vs SC East Bengal Predicted XIs
ATK Mohun Bagan: Arindam Bhattacharja (GK), Sandesh Jhingan, Tiri, Pritam Kotal, Subhasish Bose, Lenny Rodrigues, Carl McHugh, Manvir Singh, Marcelinho, David Williams, Roy Krishna
SC East Bengal: Subrata Paul (GK), Sarthak Golui, Raju Gaikwad, Danny Fox, Narayan Das, Ankit Mukherjee, Jacques Maghoma, Matti Steinmann, Sourav Das, Anthony Pilkington, Bright Enobakhare
ATK Mohun Bagan vs SC East Bengal prediction
Predicting the Kolkata Derby is always a difficult task. ATK Mohun Bagan are on a four-match winning streak and are looking like the team to beat. With a well-drilled back-four, it remains to be seen if SC East Bengal will manage to breach the Mariners' defense.
We predict an easy win for ATK Mohun Bagan in the high-voltage clash.
Prediction: ATK Mohun Bagan 2-0 SC East Bengal