Petratos’ Late Goal Secures Thrilling Draw in Kolkata Derby

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An intense and enthralling Kolkata Derby ended in a 2-2 stalemate after Mohun Bagan SG managed to share spoils with their bitter rivals East Bengal after going behind twice and maintained their unbeaten record against the Red and Gold Brigade in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Saturday, February 3rd at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata.

Kolkata Derby

Heading into the Kolkata Derby

Going into the “Boro Match”, Carles Cuadrat’s East Bengal were in high spirits after being crowned Kalinga Super Cup Champions the previous week as they won major silverware after 12 years and crucially getting the better of Mohun Bagan SG on their way to glory. On the other hand, Antonio Habas and the Mariners received a major boost in the form of the returning Indian quartet – Subhasish Bose, Sahal, Anirudh Thapa and Deepak Tangri as they were back from the AFC Asian Cup campaign. Bagan’s defensive rock Anwar Ali was also returning after his serious ankle injury that kept him out since late October last year.

The stage was set for action and fireworks as the Indian Super League was expecting an evenly matched Kolkata Derby, with no team arguably starting as out-right favorites, for the first time. It would be fair to say, that the match fulfilled all the expectations and in some style.

The match started with a bang as East Bengal left-back Nishu Kumar whipped a cross into the box which was met by Ajay Chhetri’s stuck-out leg and gave East Bengal the lead in just the 3rd minute of the game. Bagan could not have hoped for a worse start as just five minutes later, Mohun Bagan’s returning star, Anwar Ali’s game was prematurely over as he felt something on his left hamstring and was replaced by the young Amandeep.

Kolkata Derby

East Bengal had all the momentum and the fired-up fans before Mohun Bagan gradually started controlling possession and consequently the game. Center-back Brendan Hamill floated in an accurate cross to Armando Sadiku, who slotted a beautiful volley into the back of the net to equalize for Mohun Bagan in the 17th minute. East Bengal lost their key midfielder Saul Crespo to injury as Mohun Bagan regained authority and started dominating the proceedings of the game.

Sahal, Sadiku and Petratos along with Kiyan Nassiri were combining to create some picturesque moves and attacks and the East Bengal defense was dealing with them bravely, led by their defensive stalwarts Hegazi and Pardo. East Bengal did create a flurry of chances towards the end of the half but Bagan’s keeper Vishal Kaith stood strong as the half ended on equal terms.

Manvir Singh, who also came back into the squad post his national team duties, replaced Kiyan at the start of the second half as Habas’ men started on a very strong note, creating multiple chances as Mohun Bagan looked like the most likely team to score and take the lead. However, against the run of play, East Bengal hit Bagan on the counter and Mahesh was pushed by Tangri inside the box without the ball and won a controversial penalty. East Bengal’s talisman Cleiton Silva converted the penalty with a panenka and gave his team the lead in the Kolkata Derby again in the 55th minute.

Kolkata Derby

East Bengal had all the momentum after this goal as Bagan players started crumbling under pressure and conceded multiple fouls and yellow cards. Substitute Edwin Vanspaul could have almost sealed the win for East Bengal but just missed the target from another counter-attack. Mariners went for an all-out attack in search of the equalizer. Sahal snatched the ball from Nandha in a controversial fashion after a pinball of sorts in the box as Dimitri Petratos got the ball somehow and blasted it past Prabhsukhan Gill to equalize the game for Bagan in the Kolkata Derby three minutes before the 90.

Kolkata Derby

The action finally came to an end. Both sets of fans were fired up, creating an electric atmosphere as the dramatic Kolkata Derby full of tackles, cards, fights on the field and extreme intensity finally ended in a draw. East Bengal won a point against the Mariners for the first time in ISL, however, their fans and players believe they could have held the lead and won it. Mohun Bagan, on the other hand, equalized late but were still disappointed with the draw as they did create more chances and also lost crucial points in their quest to win the league shield this year.


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