Sumeet Passi’s own goal helps ATK Mohun Bagan win the Kolkata Derby

Sumeet Passi’s own goal turned out to be the decider

ATK Mohun Bagan won the first Kolkata Derby of the season by beating arch-rivals East Bengal 1-0 in a 2022 Durand Cup match on Sunday at a packed Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. Sumeet Passi’s own goal turned out to be the deciding factor in the match.

East Bengal fielded four foreigners in this match. Ivan Gonzalez and Charalambos Kyriacou both started in defense, while Alex Lima and Eliandro played in midfield and attack respectively.

ATK Mohun Bagan, on the other hand, stuck to their preferred system, using Florentin Pogba, Carl McHugh, Joni Kauko and Hugo Boumous as the foreign quartet.

While the Mariners had the better start, they did not do much with the ball in the initial exchanges in the game. On the other hand, East Bengal was defensive from the very beginning and allowed Juan Ferrando’s team to have the lion’s share of ball possession.

The first chance of the game came in the 13th minute when Ashiquem Kuruniyan beat his marker Kyriacou with a great piece of footwork. He then blasted his shot towards the goal, but could not trouble the Torchbearers’ custodian, Kamaljeet Singh.

In the 22nd minute, Ashqiue made another darting run down the left flank before playing a grounded ball into the pass for Liston, but the latter overran and hence could not connect. Liston pulled the trigger from outside the box three minutes later, but his shot was wayward.

East Bengal’s first chance came in the 33rd minute when centre-back Gonzalez reached near the opposition’s box and went for glory, but his shot was narrowly wide.

Four minutes later, Asish Rai launched an attack from the right flank for the Mariners and then went for the goal himself, but he could not find the target either. It seemed that the match will remain 0-0 at half-time, but the deadlock was broken just seconds before the lemon break.

Liston Colaco was a live wire for ATK Mohun Bagan

Liston Colaco was a live wire for ATK Mohun Bagan

Liston Colaco could not get either the desired power or the direction behind his corner and it should have been dealt with by Eliandro at the near post. However, he made a hash of the clearance and the ball ended up travelling further inside the box, before eventually striking Passi and finding the back of the net.

East Bengal’s head coach Stephen Constantine introduced Aniket Jadhav in the second half and his substitution almost paid an instantaneous dividend as the winger struck a powerful shot in the 48th minute, but could not get his direction right.

The Torchbearers’ best chance of the game came a minute later, courtesy of another substitute in Cleiton Silva. The Brazilian attacker played a delightful cross-field ball for Passi, who had acres of space and also time on his hand but could not keep his header on target.

Ferrando’s boys eventually took control of the game and Liston tried another audacious shot in the 51st minute, but this attempt was off-target as well. A couple of minutes later, Ashique found himself through on goal and struck his shot well, but Kamaljit came to East Bengal’s rescue.

In the 70th minute, Ashqiue had yet another attempt, but it seemed that he was not wearing his scoring boots. Instead, East Bengal ended up getting on the attack soon and could have equalized in the very next minute.

Kyriacou launched a cross and Cleiton did well to be at the end of it, but his header was saved by the Mariners’ custodian, Vishal Kaith. Three minutes later, McHugh had an attempt from inside the box, but his shot went way over the bar.

After Constantine, it was Ferrando’s turn to use substitutions to his team’s advantage. In the 87th minute, the hero of the last Kolkata Derby, Kiyan Nassiri dribbled past Gonzalez before going for glory, but his shot was narrowly wide. Cleiton then had another go at the goal, but his effort lacked power this time around.

Though the Mariners dominated the game, East Bengal had a chance of drawing level right at the death when Cleiton headed the ball towards Mobashir Rahman’s path, but the midfielder’s volley was not on target.

With this win, ATK Mohun Bagan is now third in the Group B standings with 4 points, while East Bengal is fourth with 2 points. The Mariners will take on the Indian Navy in their last group stage fixture on 31st August, while East Bengal will face Mumbai City on 3rd September.