And yet, there will be a touch of history when the two teams take the field for the much-awaited Kolkata derby.
On the behest East Bengal, Football Sports Development Ltd., the organisers of ISL, have allowed a minute's silence to be observed before kick-off, in memory of the Indian football stalwarts who passed away in 2020, it can be confirmed.
From PK Banerjee to Chuni Goswami to Carlton Chapman, Indian football lost some of its biggest legends in this pandemic-hit year. Most of these legends had close ties with either East Bengal or Mohun Bagan or both during their playing days.
Chuni Goswami, PK Banerjee, Tulsidas Balaram (Source: Telegraph)
Although PK Banerjee played for Eastern Railway for the most part of his life, he was revered by Mohun Bagan and East Bengal supporters alike, the greatest tribute one can possibly get. He later on achieved a tremendous feat as Bagan coach winning the IFA Shield, Rovers Cup and Durand Cup respectively to achieve their first-ever triple-crown triumph in one season.
Chuni Goswami played for Mohun Bagan throughout his career while Chapman was an integral member of East Bengal in the 1990s.
"We will be observing a 1 minute silence to pay respect to prominent players such as Chuni Goswami and P.K Banerjee," a source told The Bridge on Friday.
Earlier, East Bengal had written a letter to of Indian Football Association (IFA) secretary Joydeep Mukherjee urging him to put the request forward to FSDL.
"The year 2020 will be a painful reminder to the sports fraternity, particularly to the two participating teams, as we have lost many widely-acclaimed coaches and players," East Bengal's general secretary Kalyan Majumdar Majumdar wrote in the letter.
"We, therefore, urge upon you (IFA secretary Mukherjee) to request ISL authority to observe two-minute silence before the kick-off of this historic match to record our reverence and solidarity with the illustrious sporting heritage."
The match between SC East Bengal and ATK Mohun Bagan FC kicks off at 7.30 pm and can be watched live on Star Sports on TV and Disney+Hotstar.