ISL 2020-21 Preview: East Bengal, ATK Mohun Bagan hopeful of a superb present in Kolkata derby


One of crucial dates within the Indian soccer calendar, the day of Kolkata Derby, returns after a chronic break. So far a protect of the I-League within the nationwide format, the conflict of the Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan has modified its habitat to be part of the Indian Super League from this season.

This transformation is the results of a metamorphosis within the two groups’ possession sample however the change does little to dent the depth of the rivalry that’s nearly a century outdated now. Acknowledged as the most important and the oldest footballing rivalries within the continent, the Kolkata Derby is definitely going to be an enormous asset for the nation’s prime league when it comes to recognition. Since the day the ISL dates had been introduced, the social media is agog with the followers of the 2 celebrated opponents riling over the attainable end result of the encounter.

The spirit has positively permeated to the squads making ready for the “big match” which will get underway at Tilak Maidan Stadium on Friday night.

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“It is a massive game not because we are playing ATK Mohun Bagan, it is important to us because it is our first game as a team. It is huge for the fans. It is probably one of the biggest games in India,” says the East Bengal gaffer Robbie Fowler.

“But the important thing is you got to go into them and try to use your head. You got to try and be sensible. In these types of games, the players can’t get carried away. You will dive into tackles, you will get too enthusiastic. So in this case, let’s try and play sensibly,” says the Liverpool FC legend, who skilled a bunch of Premier League derbies throughout his taking part in days.

Fowler is aware of {that a} truncated pre-season will put his aspect underneath some strain however he’s fast so as to add that his aspect is motivated sufficient to face any state of affairs. “We have prepared rightly in a short time and are looking to adapt to whatever is in front of us. It is a chance for us to go out there and show everyone what type of team we are. The type of game where we can show our identity and what we are working on, on the training pitch,” Fowler says. 

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When it involves the query of health and preparation, Fowler says there are small points however the crew is prepared. “There are a few niggles and pains but that is something expected and that will be the case throughout the league. Now that the game is upon us we are all ready for that,” he stated.

When requested about his emotions about taking part in the massive match in an empty stadium, which is a prerequisite within the protocols set for the bio-secure bubble, Fowler stated the perfect factor is to adapt to the state of affairs. “Ideally we all look for the fans to be backing us. I know there will be a time when fans get back to the ground to support us. Football cannot be thought without fans but right now we know that the fans are right there with us in spirit and we just have to go out there and give our best and not look at the surroundings,” Fowler stated. The East Bengal gaffer introduced skilled defender Daniel Fox because the captain for the season.

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The spirit is kind of upbeat within the ATK Mohun Bagan camp, which is now an amalgamation of the ISL and the I-League champions. Spanish head coach, Antonio Lopez Habas, who has two ISL titles to his credit score, stated each the perimeters are on a fair aircraft though his aspect could have the arrogance of successful the opening match towards Kerala Blasters.

“Maybe the advantage is with us as we have played the first match and won it. That way it may not be favourable for East Bengal. Again East Bengal can be benefitting from the fact that they are playing their first match,” Habas stated on the eve of the massive battle.

“We would like to play the match on the day of the match and not one day before it,” Habas was fairly guarded in his assertion when requested about his crew’s form. The Spanish coach stated that it’s tough for any aspect to be at its greatest when it’s taking part in after a break of seven months and his crew did fairly effectively in making a successful begin. “It is natural that the players won’t be perfect after they get on the field after seven months. We need some more time to settle down but overall I am happy with how the team performed. We created chances and that goes to the credit of the team. It proves that there is good coordination in the side,” Habas stated.

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When led right into a comparability of the 2 opponents, the Spanish coach stated it’s the stability within the aspect that’s necessary and never the variety of good gamers. “East Bengal has a lot of good players and I respect them. We also have many good players. The concept in modern football is not about having a lot of good players but it is about building a good team. This really creates the difference between a big team and an average team,” Habas insisted. 

Mohun Bagan will likely be lacking Michael Soosairaj, who’s more likely to be out of the season with an ACL grade three damage in his left knee. “It is a disaster for us because Soosairaj is a good player and a good person. The injury is big and I am afraid he may not be playing for the season. But we’ll have to wait and see how he recovers,” Habas stated. 

Match information

Time: 7.30 pm IST

Venue: Tilak Maidan, Goa

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