The first Kolkata Derby in the history of the Indian Super League (ISL) saw ATK Mohun Bagan run out 2-0 winners over arch rivals SC East Bengal. Goals from Roy Krishna and Manvir Singh were enough for the Green and Maroons to have the last laugh in what was an entertaining derby. Robbie Fowler’s boys were good too in patches and one would have to admit that they gave a good account of themselves despite this being their first match. Let’s look at some of the important moments in the match that paved the way for the Mariners’ victory.
Anthony Pilkington’s miss inside the first 10 minutes
In the 7th minute, Matti Steinmann got hold of the ball on the left side of East Bengal’s midfield and played an incisive pass inside to Jacques Maghoma. The Congolese midfielder played a composed first-time through pass to set Anthony Pilkington away. Unfortunately for the former Norwich man, the ball got caught under his feet after he had successfully managed to avert an incoming tackle from Prabir Das. This gave Bagan goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharjee the opportunity to mop up the situation with some help from Tiri.
Had the Irishman managed to get his shot away and score, it could have been a completely different few minutes thereafter. A goal so early in a derby could have meant the side getting even more galvanized and going for the kill. However, this wasn’t to be the case and Antonio Habas’ men slowly came back into the game.
Balwant Singh’s shot going wide from inside the 6-yard box
At the 38th minute mark, Surchandra Singh whipped in a perfectly weighted cross inside the 6-yard box from the right. The ball went beyond Pritam Kotal’s valiantly outstretched leg into the path of SC East Bengal striker Balwant Singh who scuffed his shot across goal. To be fair to him, it was a difficult chance because Kotal’s leap would have been a distraction for the forward. However, it was another genuine goal-scoring opportunity missed by the Red and Golds in the first half itself.
Two occasions where Scott Neville’s decision to not commit to preventing the shot cost his team
Both of ATK Mohun Bagan’s goals were similar in the manner that the scorers were allowed to get their shot through on goal. Unfortunately for SC East Bengal, it was their Australian defender who was guilty of that on both occasions. For the first goal, he let Krishna receive the ball on the edge of the penalty area, turn and get his shot in without being closed down.
For the second, it was Neville again as he laid off Manvir who was charging at the goal down the right. He let him take the ball away from the goalkeeper and into an area from where he could get a shot through on goal. There was enough time for the 31-year-old to close down the striker but he chose otherwise and stayed behind his goalkeeper.