Kolkata derby

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Kolkata Derby
Salt Lake Stadium - Yuva Bharati Krirangan , Kolkata - Calcutta 3.jpg
City or region Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Teams involved Mohun Bagan
East Bengal
First contested 28 May 1925
Number of meetings 305
Most wins East Bengal (115)
All-time series East Bengal leads 116-105-86
Largest victory East Bengal 5–0 Mohun Bagan

Kolkata derby known as Boro (means big in Bengali) match is the football match between Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. The two clubs currently meet at least 4 times a year, 2 in state league and national league each. and more often if the clubs meet in other competitions like Federation Cup, IFA Shield, Durand Cup etc. Rivalry between the two teams is 86 years old, and features in the FIFA's classic derby list. The matches witness large audience attendance and rivalry between patrons.[1]

Both the Kolkata superpowers have huge fan base across spreading all over the world. Both the clubs represent a specific class of Bengali people, Mohun Bagan represents people existing in the western part of Bengal while East Bengal is supported by people hailing from the eastern part of Bengal now Bangladesh.[citation needed]

Culturally, this derby is very similar to Scottish Premier League's Old Firm derby, since a majority of the Mohun Bagan supporters represent the 'nativist' population (similar to Rangers FC) and a majority of the East Bengal fans represent the 'immigrant' population (similar to Celtic FC).

Origins[edit]

Mohun Bagan are one of Asia’s oldest clubs having been inaugurated in 1889 in the city then known under its anglicised name, Calcutta. The significant British influence in what was, until 1911, the nation’s capital, ensured the game flourished, drawing players from other regions, and it is against this backdrop in which today’s rivalry took root.

Like many great rivalries a schism, albeit in this case an indirect one, led to the birth of a local challenger. In mid-1920, the Jora Bagan club took to the field against Mohun Bagan without star Sailesh Bose, much to the chagrin of club vice-president Suresh Chandra Chaudhuri. Such was the industrialist's displeasure, he decided to form a new club and East Bengal was born. As Chaudhuri and his co-founders hailed from East Bengal, essentially now modern-day Bangladesh, the club were traditionally supported by immigrants from that area. This resulted in the clubs being backed by two different socio-economic groups, although this has largely changed over the decades.

The first major meeting between the two clubs occurred in 1925 and resulted in a 1-0 win for East Bengal in a Calcutta League match.In the return league of 1925 Mohun Bagan defeated East Bengal by 1-0. The result was repeated when the pair met for the first time in the prestigious IFA Shield in 1944. East Bengal’s semi-final triumph was all the more poignant due to Mohun Bagan’s historic and deep-seated affiliation with the tournament.

Facts and figures[edit]

Though exact figures are disputed, the Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal clash reaches a historic milestone of 300 derby matches. East Bengal fans have got their noses comfortably ahead as they have won more than their city rivals. Till now, the Kolkata rivals East Bengal and Mohun Bagan have played 305 matches against each other. East Bengal has won 116, Mohun Bagan has won 85 and 105 matches have been drawn. East Bengal has scored 280 goals and Bagan 230.

The 100th derby was played on December 16, 1967, in Rovers Cup final, in which East Bengal beat Mohun Bagan 2-0. The 200th match between them was an Airlines Cup final in April 1993, in which Mohun Bagan again won 6-5, courtesy a tie-break list.[2] The 300th meeting between the two sides was in a championship-leg encounter of the Calcutta Football League's premier division held on January 8, 2012. Nigerian Okolie Odafa and Manish Bhargav scored in a 2-0 victory to Mohun Bagan list. The 305th derby was played on May 23, 2013, in Calcutta Football League title decider at Salt Lake Stadium, where East Bengal beat Mohun Bagan 3-2.

In modern times, Indian international Baichung Bhutia has tallied the most goals in derby matches, with the diminutive forward transcending the city’s football divide by representing both clubs. His hat-trick in a famous match in 1997 was the only contemporary treble until the feat was eclipsed by Nigerian Edeh Chidi in 2009, who not only became the first foreign player to score a treble in the Kolkata derby, but became the first player in its history to score four goals in a single encounter.

Tales Of Derbies Past[edit]

The 1960s proved a golden period for Mohun Bagan and it concluded in perfect fashion for the Mariners. Having already won the league, Mohun then did the double, defeating their rivals on their own ground in the IFA Shield final. The 3-1 victory credited to the then revolutionary 4-2-4 formation employed by innovative coach Amal Dutta.

The wheel eventually turned, as happens in most such rivalries, and the 1970s was East Bengal’s decade. They lost only 1 derby in six years which culminated in a 5-0 IFA Shield win over their great rivals. The Red and Golds roared to a record 5-0 scoreline and, with it, a record of five consecutive Shield victories. Such was the ignominy surrounding the heavy defeat that several Mohun Bagan players spent the night holed up on a boat on the Ganges River trying to escape the wrath of shell-shocked supporters.

Arguably, the most memorable Kolkata derby of all took place in 1997 when a remarkable crowd of 131,000 – a record attendance for any sport in India – filled a heaving Salt Lake Stadium. Appropriately enough, India’s most recognisable footballer, Baichung Bhutia, took centre stage, scoring a hat-trick as East Bengal triumphed 4-1 in the semi-final of the Federation Cup. But he was unable to repeat his goal scoring heroics in the final, however, and his side lost against Salgaocar. Other memorable derbies got played in 2007 and 2009 when Mohun Bagan won both the matches 4-3 and 5-3 respectively.[3]

References[edit]