ATK Mohun Bagan FC players at their training session

All set for first Kolkata derby in ISL

Wearing masks of Zinedine Zidane to rile Marco Materazzi was proof that video games between Kerala Blasters and Chennaiyin FC had acquired an edge in three seasons of ISL. Bengaluru FC’s contests with Chenaiyin FC, the place Materazzi was until 2016, too has followers labored up however it is just on Friday night that ISL will get the actual really feel of a derby when SC East Bengal meet ATK Mohun Bagan.

This is a rivalry that started in 1925 and has since seen a stampede resulting in fatalities (1980), at the very least one dying by suicide in 1975 and one contest that was watched by 1.31 lakh at a Salt Lake stadium that would have been offered out many occasions over that July afternoon in 1997. That the competition has bought the Big Bs of soccer in India — Bhaichung Bhutia, Jose Barreto and Bala Devi — speaking reveals that the change within the groups’ identification is nothing however new wine in outdated bottle. Everything about their earlier lives will matter: East Bengal not profitable a nationwide league since 2004; beating Mohun Bagan 5-Zero within the 1975 IFA Shield last; Mohun Bagan profitable two I-League titles within the new millennium and dropping 1-Four to a Bhutia hattrick within the final.

What is completely different is SC East Bengal coach Robbie Fowler saying that they go in as “massive, massive underdogs.” Bhutia too has mentioned ATK Mohun Bagan, having retained most of their gamers, are favourites. After profitable the opening recreation 1-Zero in opposition to Kerala Blasters, Pritam Kotal, who has received 10 of the 13 derbies as Mohun Bagan defender, mentioned: “We will definitely be a bit ahead mentally… We were the champions for the last year. So we have to play like champions.”

But with former Norwich City winger Anthony Pilkington, Birmingham City’s Jacques Maghoma, Brisbane Roar’s Scott Neville and Danny Fox ( previously with Everton, Nottingham Forest and Wigan Athletic), who was named captain on Thursday, Jeje Lalpekhlua, Eugeneson Lyngdoh and Balwant Singh, SC East Bengal aren’t behind in particular person potential. “Sometimes underdogs win,” mentioned Fowler on Thursday.

“We probably know a little bit more about them than they about us. The disadvantage is that we have not played before and we go in a little but rusty (while) ATK know more about themselves,” mentioned Liverpool legend Fowler who has performed with ATK Mohun Bagan’s David Williams. Asked about not having seen their opponents, ATK Mohun Bagan coach Antonio Lopez Habas mentioned it didn’t matter.

Habas mentioned the harm to wing again Michael Soosairaj, “a good player and good person”, “was a “disaster”. Soosairaj was injured within the opener.

Both groups have seven gamers from Bengal, plenty of Indians who’ve expertise of this derby and in Sandesh Jhingan (ATKMB) and Lyngdoh who don’t.