Mohun Bagan tame East Bengal in Kolkata derby to move atop ISL table

Dimi Petratos and Jason Cummings
Dimi Petratos and Jason Cummings (Source: MBSG/X)

Jason Cummings, Liston Colaco and Dimi Petratos’s first-half strikes earned Mohun Bagan a convincing 3-1 victory over East Bengal in the Indian Super League’s Kolkata derby.

Mohun Bagan dominated the first half, securing a three-goal lead before heading into the tunnel. In the second half, East Bengal showed resilience and gave it their all to make a comeback. Vishal Kaith’s heroic saves and East Bengal’s failures near the goal ensured Mohun Bagan emerged victorious.

Mohun Bagan climbed to the top of the table, with 36 points from 17 matches. East Bengal are 10th among 12 teams, with 18 points from 19 matches.

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It was 38 minutes into the game when an electrifying Mexican wave swept through the Mohun Bagan stand, as if their vociferous fans were celebrating, knowing that they had sealed the game. And why not? It was evident from the scoreline and the body language of the East Bengal players that Mohun Bagan fans would leave the stadium in ecstasy.

East Bengal had an early opportunity, when Vishal came out of his line to punch the ball but collided with Cleiton, and the referee pointed towards the penalty spot. However, Vishal redeemed himself by stretching his body to his left to deny Cleiton the opener. Until the halftime whistle, it was one-way traffic for the green and maroon brigade.

In the 27th minute, Prabhsukhan Gill saved Petratos’s powerful shot from outside the box, but Cummings made no mistake and opened the scoring from inside the six-yard box collecting the rebound.

Petratos and Cummings with 'Sten Gun celebration
Petratos and Cummings with ‘Sten Gun celebration (Source: MBSG/X)

It took just 10 minutes to make it 2-0. Petratos’s shot struck the crossbar, beating the keeper but came back to him. This time, he fed Liston with a tricky pass, who made no mistake in extending the lead.

It was salt in the wound for East Bengal when Nandhakumar Sekar brought Liston down inside the box, and Mohun Bagan were awarded a penalty. Petratos took the ball and confidently sent it past Gill to make it 3-0 at the stroke of halftime.

The red and yellow brigade pulled one back eight minutes into the second half. It was Saul Crespo, returning to action after a month, who stunned everyone by chesting down Cleiton’s long pass brilliantly and firing past Vishal to find the top left corner.

Mohun Bagan players celebrating vs East Bengal
Mohun Bagan players celebrating vs East Bengal (Source: MBSG/X)

East Bengal showed urgency to reduce the deficit, and Mohun Bagan’s sloppy defending aided their cause, but Carles Cuadrat’s boys couldn’t capitalise on their chances.

In the 63rd minute, Cleiton almost headed in East Bengal’s second from point blank range, but Vishal stretched his body to deny him, keeping the scoreline intact.

East Bengal’s slim playoffs hopes are all but gone. They will be hoping for a miracle in the last three games to make it to the playoffs for the first time since their entry into the ISL.

Also Read: Fast bowlers, debutants among factors behind India’s win

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