Match 9 Preview: SC East Bengal aim for an improved display against arch-rivals ATK Mohun Bagan

Arch-rivals ATK Mohun Bagan and SC East Bengal will cross paths in the much-anticipated Kolkata derby in their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 match at the Tilak Maidan, on Saturday.

The Mariners started their campaign with a commanding 4-2 win over Kerala Blasters FC on the opening day of the season, while SC East Bengal shared points with Jamshedpur FC in a 1-1 draw. In spite of the results, the fixture promises to be an enthralling one thanks to the rivalry.

Form Guide

SC East Bengal

The Red and Yellow brigade are winless in their last five competitive matches, having lost three and shared points in the remaining two. However, they would draw some inspiration from the pre-season practice matches, where they won three matches and played out a draw against defending champions Mumbai City in the fourth one. The gritty display against Jamshedpur FC in their opening match just raises the hopes of their passionate fans.

ATK Mohun Bagan

The Kolkata based side have won three of their last five matches, lost one and played out a draw in the remainder. It includes the matches from the 2021 AFC Cup, where ATK Mohun Bagan scripted wins over teams like Bengaluru FC and Maziya FC, but were hammered by a strong Nasaf FC in the inter-zonal semi-final. However, with the star-studded line-up they boast of, the Mariners will take the field as favourites in the upcoming match.

Head to Head

In the two matches played between these sides last season, ATK Mohun Bagan have won each of them, with scores of 2-0 and 3-1 respectively. Roy Krishna scored once in each of those matches.

Team News

SC East Bengal

The 1-1 draw against Jamshedpur FC inferred two important facts - SC East Bengal have shaped up better than they had in the previous season and the Kolkata derby is going to be  a more balanced one, this time around. Going with the trend, they had deployed two centre-backs - Tomislav Mrcela and Franjo Prce, who have been pretty decent, while side-backs Hira Mondal and Mohammad Rafique also impressed.

Head coach Jose Manuel Diaz gambled by appointing an all-Indian midfield in the starting line-up, despite having Amir Dervisevic, who was introduced later in the game. Apart from which, youngsters Lalrinliana Hnamte, Wahengbam Angousana and Sourav Das were bang average. We should not be surprised to see SC East Bengal use more of Amarjit Singh Kiyam and Jakichand Singh as we go along, with them treated with a few minutes each last game.

Coming to the forwards, Antonio Perosevic was by far their best player on the field during the match against Jamshedpur FC, having kept their defenders on their toes throughout the game. The Croatian came close to scoring a few times as well, unlike Daniel Chima, who was a total flop last Sunday evening. It would be interesting to see whether Diaz sticks to the same combination or strengthens the midfield in the derby, either way, they have a stiff mountain to climb.

ATK Mohun Bagan

As far as the season opener is concerned, ATK Mohun Bagan would have been very pleased with the convincing win over the Blasters on the opening day, but few areas would still haunt them. Head coach Antonio Lopez Habas went with a more conservative back-four, after the 0-6 hammering against the Uzbek side in the AFC Cup. But, that did not stop the Mariners from conceding two goals in the last game.

The midfield have been more agile, with Lenny Rodrigues, Hugo Boumous combining well with the Finnish playmaker Joni Kauko to maintain fluidity. However, they need to play more matches together to reach an optimum level, in terms of efficiency in the playmaking zone. Liston Colaco has been exceptional in the wings, adding teeth to their attack, with the former even scoring a mesmerising goal against the Blasters.

Roy Krishna, who scored from the spot on the opening night, was threatening as usual. But, it would be interesting to see how much of game time David Williams gets, with the striker starting from the bench in the previous game, owing to the new foreigner policy. Habas is a coach who has mastered the art of churning out positive results in the ISL, his philosophy has fetched results in the past, and it’s not going to be an exception in the next game.

Key Players

SC East Bengal

Antonio Perosevic

In the thick of things for SC East Bengal throughout the previous game, the forward has given hopes to millions of supporters. Perosevic displayed some sensational skills in his ISL debut, as well as created a few opportunities for his team, including an assist for the goal scored by Franjo Prce. With four shots, two crosses and a few crucial passes in the final third in the previous game, the Croatian International footballer is ready to rock the Kolkata derby.

Hira Mondal

One of the many players who made their ISL debut last week, side-back Hira Mondal was roped in by SC East Bengal in his prime and he’s been right on the money so far. The hardworking footballer was visible throughout the game, bailing out SC East Bengal from quite a few occasions. With three tackles, three clearances and a block to his name against Jamshedpur FC, Mondal can give a hard time to the speedy ATK Mohun Bagan wingers on Saturday evening.

ATK Mohun Bagan

Hugo Boumous

The midfielder was exceptional for the Mariners in the previous game, having scored a brace to take the game away completely from Kerala Blasters FC. However, his primary role is to create chances, an area in which he has been brilliant in the past ISL seasons for FC Goa and Mumbai City FC. Boumous is yet to unleash his potential in the Green and Maroon jersey, and he would not get a better occasion than the Kolkata derby to impress his new employers.

Liston Colaco

The speedy winger signed for the Kolkata-based club after his impressive display for Hyderabad FC in the previous season of the Hero ISL. Already making a mark for ATK Mohun Bagan in the AFC Cup, Colaco has gelled perfectly into the team by now. The sensational goal, along with an assist in the match against Kerala Blasters FC documents the form he’s enjoying at the moment. The former FC Goa player is likely to play an instrumental role for his side in the Kolkata derby.

Key Stats

SC East Bengal at the venue: The Red and Yellow brigade played 12 out of their 20 matches last season at the Tilak Maidan, out of which they won only once, lost five and shared points in the remaining six occasions.

Beware of Roy Krishna: The Fijian striker has scored at least one goal in each of the two matches against SC East Bengal last season, helping them complete a double over their arch-rivals. He also provided an assist in the same.

Winless streak: SC East Bengal is winless in their last five ISL matches. The last time the Kolkata-based side won a game was back on February 7, 2021, when they defeated Jamshedpur FC with a 2-1 margin.

Match Timings and Telecast Details

Match: SC East Bengal vs ATK Mohun Bagan

Date: 27 November

Venue: Tilak Maidan, Margao

Kick-off time: 7.30 pm

Telecast: Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 3, Hindi Commentary on Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD, Star Sports 1 regional channels - Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu

Online Streaming: Disney+Hotstar and JioTV.

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