Derby fever grips Kolkata

Derby Diaries: The Best XI

Kolkata: It is a match where equations do not matter, calculations do not work out and passion takes over skill. Here are some added information to heat up the encounter. Its Derby time!

1) The two teams met for the first time in 1925, when East Bengal won the fixture 1-0. Nepal Chakraborty walked into the history books by scoring the only goal. Mona Dutta was the skipper of the winning side.

2) The 100th derby was played on December 16, 1967, in Rovers Cup final, in which East Bengal had defeated Mohun Bagan 2-0. The 200th match between them was an Airlines Cup final in April 1993, in which Bagan again won 6-5, courtesy a tie-break. 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 as the Mariners sealed the game 2-0.

3) The highest margin of win is the famous 5-0 victory of East Bengal on 30th September, 1975. But it is unknown to many that Shyam Thapa had missed a penalty for the Red and Gold in that match. Had he scored from the spot in the 11th minute, it would have been a worse humiliation for their neighbours. Ashok Banerjee was the skipper of the winning side. In the aforementioned match, Kajal Dhali of East Bengal took the field for his side even though his mother passed away just a few days ago.

4) Umakanto Palodhi, a Mohun Bagan supporter committed suicide after the 0-5 loss in 1975. In his suicide note was written the lines- “In my next birth, I will take the revenge by becoming a Mohun Bagan footballer.”

5) A fatal pandemonium occurred in the derby on 16th August, 1980 taking a toll of 16 young lives. This marks the darkest day of Indian football. As the referee gave Dilip Palit and Bidesh Basu the marching orders in the second half, the gallery burst into agitation. A stampede at the Eden Gardens resulted in the disaster.

6) 13th July, 1997 witnessed the madness of the city reach its all-time high as 1,31,000 supporters came to the Salt Lake stadium to watch the derby. However, this was by no means an accurate figure.East Bengal had won the match 4-1 with Bhaichung scoring a hat-trick, while Najimul Haque had scored the other goal. Chima Okorie reduced the deficit for the Green and Maroons.

7) Chidi Edeh is the first foreigner to score a hat-trick in the derby. Chidi also holds the record of scoring the maximum number of goals in a single match. He had put the ball into the net four times in Bagan’s 5-3 win over East Bengal on 25th October, 2009. Manish Maithani had scored the other goal.

8) Bhaichung Bhutia has scored the maximum number of goals in the derby. Among his 19 goals, 13 are for East Bengal, while the other six are for Bagan. Jose Ramirez Barreto comes second with 17 goals all scored for the Mariners, which obviously is the highest number of goals for a particular side by a single player in the derby.

9) Only four players have captained both the sides: Goutam Sarkar, Prashanta Banerjee, Dulal Biswas and Renedy Singh. An interesting similarity is that all four had been the captain of the East Bengal side first and then went on to lead the Bagan side in later parts of their career.

10) Among the 309 games played between these sides, East Bengal leads the winning chart with an impressive 117-86 margin.

11) The two teams have faced each other 34 times in the National Football League and I-League combined. East Bengal have won 14 of them, while Mohun Bagan have snatched the bragging rights in 10 games. Honours were shared on 10 occasions.