ANI Photo | Indian Super League: Kolkata Derby returns as Mohun Bagan locks horns with East Bengal FC

The Kolkata Derby returns to the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 with Mohun Bagan Super Giant and East Bengal FC locking horns at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday, with the kick-off at 8:30 pm IST.
A lot has changed for both teams since they last squared off in the top-tier in February. The Red and Gold Brigade were in an imperious form back then, high on confidence, fresh from the back of a victory in the Kalinga Super Cup. Contrastingly, the Mariners had been dealt three straight losses in the league at that time.
However, MBSG head coach Antonio Lopez Habas has inspired a formidable turnaround since then, with the team remaining unbeaten in the top-tier under his watch so far. They have won four times and drawn twice in their last six matches, and are within touching distance of the top spot right now, as per an ISL press release.
With 33 points from 16 games (after 10 wins, three draws and three losses), the Mariners can equal league leaders Mumbai City FC (36) with a win, whilst having a game in hand compared to the Islanders who have played 18 games so far as compared to the 16 of the Habas-coached team.
On the other hand, East Bengal FC is not in the best run of form at the moment, losing thrice in their last five games. However, the team has 18 points from as many games (after four wins, six draws and eight losses), and a win will take them on level terms with the sixth-placed Jamshedpur FC, who have 21 points from 19 encounters until now.
*Key Players to Watch Out
Dimitrios Petratos (Mohun Bagan Super Giant)
Dimitrios Petratos had bagged the equaliser in the previous Kolkata Derby, and he has been a lively presence in the Mohun Bagan Super Giant frontline throughout the season.
He has created 18 goal-scoring opportunities since the start of 2024, which is the highest amongst players yet to record an assist in the time period. Petratos has netted seven times and assisted once in 14 appearances in this campaign. He has taken 36 shots with 50% of them landing on target.
Petratos has created 30 goal-scoring chances, and averages 30 passes per game at 81% accuracy. He has earned 14 fouls and been stellar from free-kicks, thus adding an all-round element to his gameplay.
Naorem Mahesh Singh (East Bengal FC)
Naorem Mahesh Singh has been a constant presence in the East Bengal FC attacking unit this season. He has scored and assisted twice each, and is on the brink of becoming the first player in the history of the club to start 50 matches for them in the ISL.
Mahesh is already the most capped East Bengal FC player in the ISL with 54 appearances to his name. In the current campaign, Mahesh has earned 30 fouls, won five aerial duels, and averaged 26 passes per game at 74 per cent accuracy.
He has taken nine shots in total, having created 26 goal-scoring opportunities, and has played the ideal foil to the duo of Cleiton Silva and Nandhakumar Sekar so far.
*Head-to-Head
Played – 7
Mohun Bagan Super Giant – 6
East Bengal FC – 0
Draws – 1
*Team Talk
“My players are very motivated. It is going to be a very good game. We have gotten very good results so far in the Kolkata derbies held this season,” East Bengal FC head coach Carles Cuadrat said in the pre-match press conference.
“We are confident. But this is a totally different game, with different players and a different situation altogether. East Bengal FC is in a race to be in the top six, whereas we are fighting for the first place,” Mohun Bagan Super Giant head coach Antonio Lopez Habas said ahead of the game.

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