Kolkata derby is one of the most awaited football matches in this part of the world. Presuming this to be my last year in Kolkata, I made a list of things to do before leaving the city. Watching the derby live at the Salt Lake stadium was one of the key points on that list.
28th March 2015
We reached the stadium two hours before the scheduled start of play. Supporters from all ages had come in huge numbers. The weather was a bit windy and ideal for both the players and the spectators. The match started with a loud cheer from both the camps. The Mohun Bagan supporters were more in numbers as it was their home match.
The first half was completely dominated by East Bengal as they had more possession on the ball. East Bengal attacked the goal many times but Mohun Bagan‘s goalkeeper stood in like a wall. East Bengal would have scored two to three goals at least in the first half if not for the excellent performance by Mohun Bagan‘s goalie Debjit Majumder. The goalless first half was all about East Bengal‘s attack and Mohun Bagan‘s one man show.
The second half was a totally different story. Two minutes into the second half Katsumi Yusa gained momentum into the box and shot the ball. The East Bengal goalkeeper Subhasis Roy Chowdhury saved the goal, but failed to grab the ball. Opportunity was sensed and Balwant Singh kicked the ball hard into the goal.
Silence struck the East Bengal gallery and the Mohun Bagan fans leaped with delight. The whole stadium erupted with shouts of “GOOOOAAAL”. The green-maroon flags were flying high and the score was 1-0.
The game changed completely after the goal, the Mohun Bagan players became more fluent and confident as the match progressed. They lifted their game and started to attack more.
A free-kick was awarded to East Bengal in the 92nd minute and it was the last chance for the visitors to score an equalizer. But all their efforts were in-vain.
The forward duo of Ranti Martin and Dudu failed to convert the passes into a goal. Mohun Bagan won the match 1-0, continuing their unbeaten streak in the I-League. Debjit Majumder became the player of the match due to his amazing goalkeeping.
Like all East Bengal supporters, I returned home disappointed. But the experience was worth cherishing. I also realized that the beauty of Kolkata derby is such that only the ones who have witnessed the buzz and the rivalry can know how it actually is.
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