East Bengal will be eyeing their maiden Kolkata derby win in the Indian Super League when they face arch rivals ATK Mohun Bagan at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday. Both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan will come into the derby on the back of a win and that will add some spice to the fixture. However, there’s no doubt that the Mariners will be the favourites, having maintained a 100 per cent win record in the past two seasons with four victories in four games. They are on a six-match winning streak over their rivals.
Earlier this season, the iconic Salt Lake Stadium hosted a Durand Cup derby, the first after the COVID-19 pandemic. In a sloppy contest, an own goal from East Bengal handed Mohun Bagan victory.
Nothing much separates the two teams on the standings as both have three points each, but the Mariners are ahead at seventh place on goal difference, with a match in hand.
The Juan Ferrando-coached side, who had a big 5-2 win over Kerala Blasters, would look to seize the momentum earl on.
For East Bengal, it would be more about proving a point as they have not won over their rivals in the ISL.
In fact, they are yet to win a derby since their 2-0 win in the I-League way back in January 2019 and Stephen Constantine will look to get the records straight.
“The Kolkata Derby is the biggest game in the Indian football calendar. It is a special game. So, we are very excited to face ATK Mohun Bagan. We expect a very tough game,” he said.
“I am not interested in one point. I want all three points and I am pretty sure that they do as well. You don’t go into a derby game not trying to win it.
“I think it is important to highlight that. Everybody wants to win. All the players, all the staff, and all the fans of both teams. We will try to win this game as that’s how you play this game.” The key man for East Bengal would be Dimitri Petratos who has three goals and provided two assists in two appearances as the Ivan Gonzalez-led East Bengal defence will look to stop his early onslaught.
East Bengal’s attack will rely much on the Brazilian Cleiton Silva who has been their top-scorer with two goals to his name.
East Bengal defeated NorthEast United FC 3-1 for their maiden win this season.
“I don’t think we played tremendous football in the last game. I thought we did okay. We won the game and that’s the main thing,” Constantine said.
“Tomorrow we will have to play good football for 90 minutes. It is a completely different scenario because it is the derby.”
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