Hugo Boumous and Manvir Singh’s second-half strikes down East Bengal in Kolkata Derby against ATK Mohun Bagan

ATK Mohun Bagan has won every ISL Kolkata Derby clash against East Bengal

ATK Mohun Bagan cruised to its fifth successive Kolkata Derby victory as the Mariners defeated East Bengal 2-0 in their Indian Super League match on Saturday.

Juan Ferrando made just one change to the ATK Mohun Bagan side that sank KBFC in Kochi – Subhasish Bose replaced Ashique Kuruniyan on the left flank as they switched to a 4-3-3. Stephen Constantine fielded the same starting XI that had nabbed all three points against the Highlanders in Guwahati.

In the opening ten minutes of this high-octane full-contact contest, ATK Mohun Bagan looked menacing. In the fifth minute of the game, Hugo Boumous, who had been running rings around the EBFC midfield, found the ball at his feet in behind to the left of the goal. He decided to cut back to Subhasish Bose, whose shot whistled over the crossbar.

After the initial pressure from ATK Mohun Bagan, with Liston Colaco ruffling the side netting in the 11th minute, it was time for East Bengal to hit back. Bose again came close as his shot flashed across the goal and out of play.

East Bengal almost got their noses in front in the 16th minute, as Naorem Mahesh Singh got the ball on the left flank as the clock ticked over and sent in a delicious cross. Semboi Haokip managed to get his head to it despite pressure from ATKMB defenders but his shot was saved by a diving Vishal Kaith in goal.

Midway through the first half, Jordan O’Doherty went down in the box after a nudge from Asish Rai. The supporters started to get restless and after East Bengal’s shout for a penalty, things started boiling over. However, O’Doherty’s fall in the box was deemed legal by the referee.

Four minutes later, Joni Kauko’s attempt to get to a loose ball was cut short but a late challenge from Charis Kyriakou, for which he was shown a yellow card. All hell broke loose barely a minute later as ATKMB and East Bengal players got into a scuffle with the referee needing to pull out Brendan Hamill, Pritam Kotal, and Cleiton Silva. 

Things did not calm down eventually as the tackles had been flying and challenges on either side had been dealt with an equal response.

Amidst all that, in the 32nd minute, Hugo Boumous danced his way past multiple defenders and was just a stroke away from handing the Mariners the lead but Sarthak Golui’s last-ditch tackle kept the scores level.

Two minutes later, Sarthak was at it again with another important tackle to stop a hurtling counter from ATK Mohun Bagan. There were more attacks from either side but none were productive as the teams went into the break goalless.

It was business as usual after the restart with both teams having a go at each other and rarely pulling their punches and kicks.

The Mariners drew first blood in the 56th minute. Boumous found himself open in the midfield. The Frenchman tried his luck from range and it paid off. The ball bounced right in front of Kamaljit Singh and landed in the back of the net.

Before the Torch Bearers could recover, ATK Mohun Bagan doubled their advantage just ten minutes later. Dimitri Petratos’ effort found its way through to Manvir. The striker’s goal-bound shot picked up a slight deflection off Jerry Lalrinzuala’s boot and beat Kamaljit at the near-post.

In the 68th minute, Kaith was quick to deny O’Doherty’s powerful long-range effort. Minutes later, Eliandro dos Santos came on for Ivan Gonzalez and muscled through the ATKMB defence. He played a sublime pass towards Cleiton Silva before the attack was thwarted by the Mariners’ substitute Lenny Rodrigues, summing up East Bengal’s day.

With the match drawing to a close and the result looking certain, Juan Ferrando decided to go for a more defensive approach whereas Stephen Constantine looked around for someone to make a difference. There was none as the game ended with the green and maroon half of the 62,542 in attendance leaving for home happy.

The victory lifts ATK Mohun Bagan up to the fourth position in the ISL. They are four points off the top with a game in hand. The Mariners will travel to the west coast to face Mumbai City in their next match on Sunday.

After losing the derby, East Bengal remained in eighth place in the ISL standings. They will host Chennaiyin on Friday in their next fixture.