The season’s first Kolkata Derby is around the corner with East Bengal FC and Mohun Bagan Super Giant set to lock horns at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, in Kolkata, on Saturday, and the excitement is palpable. It is the mother of all derbies and the biggest game in Indian football, with the rivalry between these two teams lasting decades. 

For the second time in two years, these two Indian Super League (ISL) teams will go head to head in Asia’s oldest  tournament. When it comes to silverware, East Bengal FC and Mohun Bagan have been the most successful teams in the history of the competition, with a total of 16 titles each.

The two sides first faced each other at the Durand Cup in 1957 and have fought it out against one another a total of 20 times since then, including 11 finals. East Bengal FC have emerged victorious in eight out of these 20 meetings while Mohun Bagan have won seven of them. As both sides gear up to face each other again in the tournament, we have handpicked some of the best Kolkata derby matches in the history of the Durand Cup.

1978 final: East Bengal FC 3-0 Mohun Bagan

East Bengal FC reached the final for the first time in six years, having previously won the 1972 edition, where they beat Mohun Bagan. In the semi-finals of the 1974 edition, they were knocked out by the Mariners. Set to face the defending champions, the odds were all against the Red & Golds who were looking to claim their eighth title.

With the final being played in front of a packed crowd at the Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi, East Bengal FC proved too good for their neighbours. Surajit Sengupta opened the scoring and then set up Mihir Bose for the second goal. Substitute Tapan Das put the game to bed in the dying minutes to seal a memorable victory for Arun Ghosh’s side.   

1984 final: Mohun Bagan 1-0 East Bengal FC

The 1984 final of the Durand Cup will be remembered by Mohun Bagan fans for many reasons. The Mariners finished joint-winners alongside their bitter rivals in the 1982 edition, but suffered a defeat to JCT in the following edition. Having reached their third straight final, the pressure was on them.

Not only that, Mohun Bagan missed the presence of few players who were a crucial part of their first team including the likes of Subrata Bhattacharja, Krishanu Dey and Prasanta Banerjee, to name a few. But under head coach Pradip Banerjee, Mohun Bagan fought valiantly as they beat favourites East Bengal FC to retain the title. While Bidesh Bose scored the winner, it was their defence that laid the foundation for the win.

1994 final: East Bengal FC 0-1 Mohun Bagan

Mohun Bagan made it to the final for the first time in five years since losing the 1989 final to East Bengal FC on penalties. On the other hand, East Bengal FC were set to play their fourth final in five years, having won all three finals that they competed in. East Bengal FC entered the contest as heavy favourites, but the Mariners stunned everyone with a gritty performance.

They recorded a 1-0 win against their arch-rivals, extracting revenge for their 1989 final defeat in the process. This was the 15th Durand Cup title triumph for the Mariners.

2004 final: East Bengal FC 2-1 Mohun Bagan

The two sides met in the Durand Cup final 10 years later in New Delhi and East Bengal FC put up a splendid show to reclaim the title after losing it to Salgaocar FC on penalties in the previous year.

Captain Chandas Das scored in each half, leading his side to their 16th Durand Cup crown as East Bengal FC equalled Mohun Bagan’s tally. Das, became only the second player after Mohammed Habib to score two goals in the final of a Kolkata Derby Durand Cup game. Subhash Bhowmick’s side held onto the win despite going a man down in the second half. 

2022 group stage: East Bengal FC 0-1 Mohun Bagan SG

The two sides met each other once again in the group stages of the 2022 edition, for the first time in 18 years. This was also set to be their first meeting in the competition after becoming part of the ISL. East Bengal FC and Mohun Bagan SG were drawn in a Group B comprising eventual runners-up Mumbai City FC, Rajasthan United FC and Indian Navy.

With the Salt Lake Stadium witnessing a crowd of around 65,000 for the Kolkata Derby, it was the Mariners who walked away with the victory on the night courtesy of a Sumeet Passi own goal. However, both the Kolkata sides couldn’t make it to their knockout stages with Mumbai City FC and Rajasthan United FC advancing from their group.