ATK Mohun Bagan left SC East Bengal without answers with a convincing 3-0 win in the first meet of the Kolkata Derby in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, here on Saturday.
Roy Krishna (12′) kept his record of scoring in each derby intact as Manvir Singh (14′) and Liston Colaco (23′) ensured the job was done halfway through the first period itself.
In the 372nd edition of the 100-year-old rivalry, the Mariners have now won 123 times, edging increasingly closer to the Red and Golds’ 129 victories.
While East Bengal started with four recognised center-backs, ATK Mohun Bagan had none in their playing XI. AFC Ajax academy graduate Darren Sidoel made his first start for East Bengal as Daniel Chima was dropped. Antonio Habas chose to go in with the same side that trumped Kerala Blasters on the opening day.
It was SC East Bengal who looked bright right off the whistle. They even tested the Bagan defence with an early corner kick, mostly unaware of the incoming storm.
Bagan marauded the right channel to bang two goals within 100-odd seconds. Manvir first found Pritam Kotal through, who crossed first-time into the box. The dangerous Roy Krishna was left unmarked and the Fiji international had no trouble swinging a right-footer on the volley past Arindam’s far-side to break the deadlock within just 12 minutes.
The architect of the first goal, Manvir, wasted no time putting his side two to the good. Fresh off the European Championship, Joni Kauko took advantage of SC East Bengal’s Achilles Heel — their left side of the defence. Kauko laid it off for Manvir inside the box who slammed home, this time on Arindam’s nearside.
Arguably, the deal was sealed in the 23rd minute. Liston Colaco picked up his spoon to join in on the feast. Arindam, unfortunately, came off his mark onto the edge of the 18-yard-box but only spilled his collection. Liston picked up the pieces and with an empty net on the angle, packed in the third goal of the night.
Arindam soon had to be brought off as he was injured in the process. Jose Manuel Diaz also threw Amarjit Singh Kiyam into the mix. SC East Bengal looked bereft of ideas as the Mariners kept piling on the attacks, with some great chances going amiss.
The Red and Golds exhausted their five changes with more than half-hour to go. Adil Khan, Amir Dervisevic and Chima, all were brought in but the gulf in class was wide.
Kauko remained central to ATKMB’s plan of dictating play from midfield as his teammates kept on squandering chances to extend the lead. Substitute goalkeeper Suvam Sen was impressive.
SC East Bengal would feel lucky that ATKMB didn’t find the back of the net on more occasions as the Red and Gold defense put up a shambolic show pm Saturday night.
With two wins from two games, ATK Mohun Bagan jumped to the top of the table, two points clear of Jamshedpur FC. They feature in a repeat of last season’s final with Mumbai City midweek while SC East Bengal play Odisha FC next.