The much anticipated Kolkata derby ended in a 1-0 victory for East Bengal over Mohun Bagan at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday evening. A sublime strike from Lalrindika Ralte in the 73rd minute was enough to separate the two teams.
With a crowd count of 83,000 plus, tension and stakes were high before the start of the match – both teams are well known to share a history of fierce rivalry of 88 long years. Mohun Bagan, as the home team, played with a defensive strategy that horribly backfired and failed to contain the opposition as East Bengal went with a completely different and opposite strategy to prove them wrong, putting them on the back-foot, straight-away.
The Mariners should have taken the lead in the sixth minute of the match when Odafa Okolie played a perfectly timed through ball for Muranda which the Nigerian somehow, inexplicably missed, shooting straight at Abhijit Mondal. Katsumi Yusa tried to curl in the rebound into the far corner, only for Uga Okpara to clear.
However, the deadlock was finally broken by the Red and Gold army in the 73rd minute after Ralte stunned the keeper with a good but loose ripping shot after receiving the ball from Chidi, the ball swirling in the air before going into the right far top of the net giving them a deserving lead after 73 minutes. In the end, though the match saw many chances that went begging, the match was a hard-fought I-League encounter.