Despite several chances created at the goalmouth at both ends, the Kolkata derby between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan finished 0-0 on Sunday at the Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri. East Bengal still have a three-point lead over their arch-rivals.
Mohun Bagan were clearly the better side in the first half of the game, with winger Sony Norde in particular creating plenty of problems for the home side’s defence. East Bengal came out of the interval with more intensity and drive going forward, and could have gone ahead had Willis Plaza not spurned a golden chance from point-blank range.
Mohun Bagan came into their element after a dreary spell of play during the first 15 minutes. Norde’s tricky runs on the blindside created plenty of panic in the East Bengal backline. Pritam Kotal got the first chance of the game with a shot from the outside of his right foot from a corner, but TP Rehenesh calmly collected it with the effort lacking power or finesse.
Norde came close with his trademark shot from cross corner but Rehenesh pushed it out in the nick of time. East Bengal rarely troubled the Mohun Bagan defence and their best effort in the first half came through a wayward long-range effort from Wedson Anselme.
East Bengal won the ball back aggressively in the middle of the park, and Debjit Majumder kept his side alive in the contest with a terrific one-handed save from from Plaza, who was put through on goal from Robin Singh’s backpedaling header. Darryl Duffy and Katsumi Yusa, too, came close with their efforts from inside the box. Souvik Chakraborty showed fancy footwork to create a chance in the first half, but, yet again, Mohun Bagan’s finishing boots deserted them.
East Bengal ran out of steam towards the end but their defence stood firm to thwart the constant flow of attacks from their opponents. Both teams remain unbeaten in the I-League table.