ATK Mohun Bagan have beaten SC East Bengal 2-0 in the first Kolkata Derby in the Indian Super League (ISL) to stay top of the league table with two wins in two games.
Roy Krishna scored the opener in the 49th minute, a powerful shot from the edge of the box after good build-up play from Jayesh Rane and Javi Hernandez to set him up. Manvir Singh added a second with a stunning solo goal on a rapid counter-attack in the 85th minute.
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The first half, which ended goalless, was even and surprisingly open, with both teams having attacks thwarted by well-organised defences. SCEB dominated the possession, with Anthony Pilkington and Jacques Maghoma sparkling in attack and Matti Steinmann controlling the game from midfield. On the other side, David Williams, Javi Hernandez and Prabir Das shone in attack.
It took just eight minutes for SCEB to create the first chance of the match – Maghoma and Pilkington combining to send the latter into the penalty box, but a Tiri tackle put an end to that move. David Williams, reintroduced into the XI in place of Edu Garcia, almost set up Krishna at the other end after a flowing move just five minutes later.
It was only after the drinks break (at the half-hour mark) that the two goalkeepers were properly bothered, though. First, Maghoma headed over an excellent Narayan Das after arriving late and finding space in the ATKMB box. Then, a routine throw-in was turned into a chance by a lovely piece of skill from Hernandez, who with a couple of flicks got away from his markers in the SCEB box and smashed a shot that was smartly saved by Debjit Majumder.
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A few minutes later, Balwant Singh turned another superb cross in from the SCEB left flank harmlessly into the hands of Arindam Bhattacharya.
The second half was dominated, possession-wise, by SCEB, and although Pilkington started to exert his authority on the game with lovely pieces of skill and smart movement, the Habas game plan was executed perfectly. His team got two chances, and ATKMB took them brilliantly. Krishna and Manvir both showing exemplary forward play and highlighting just what their opponents were missing.
In an open, entertaining game, it was the ruthlessness of ATK Mohun Bagan’s forwards that separated the two old foes.