ISL Kolkata Derby: Calm and controlled ATK Mohun Bagan make it 2-0 vs East Bengal

ATKMB coach Antonio Lopez Habas said that the team treated the match like just another game. Bagan are now on top of the ISL table.

By Naveen Peter ·

ATK Mohun Bagan got the better of archrivals East Bengal 3-1 in the second Kolkata Derby of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa on Friday night.

While goals from Roy Krishna (15th minute), David Williams (72nd minute) and Javier Hernandez (89th minute) powered the Mariners to their fifth consecutive win in ISL 2020-21, East Bengal’s only goal came in the 41st minute with Bagan defender Tiri scoring a self goal.

The win helped ATK Mohun Bagan cement their place on the top of the ISL points table with 39 points, five clear of the second-placed Mumbai City FC, while East Bengal stayed ninth. ATKMB had won 2-0 in the ISL’s maiden Kolkata Derby in November last year.

“We had to play like it was any other match. We were playing for the three points. We had to keep calm and control on the pitch. This was our idea. We had to stay calm and play football,” head coach Antonio Lopez Habas said at the post-match press conference.

“Maybe in the final 10 minutes of the first half we had some problems from throw-ins and corners. But I think that the second half was perfect. We did some fantastic defending and counter-attacking.” Antonio Lopez Habas added. 

With their head coach Robbie Fowler missing the match to a suspension, East Bengal’s assistant coach Anthony Grant was incharge. He was disappointed.

ATK Mohun Bagan beat East Bengal in the second Kolkata Derby of ISL 2020-21. Photo: ISL Media.

“I thought it was a good derby game. Both the teams went for it. It was a very honest and strong game. The second goal was the turning point,” Grant said. 

“We have experienced players at the back and it's a derby game that is one each (1-1 at the time of the error). There was not much in it and we gifted them the second goal.”

With ATK Mohun Bagan capitalising on East Bengal’s mistakes to score the goals, Anthony Grant felt that the result would have been different if his team was a bit more cautious.

“I don't think the opposition did much to win the game. I think we helped them. Both teams cancelled each other out. There wasn’t much great football played by both teams... There was a lot at stake. It was a big game but I would not say that it was the worst game (from an East Bengal point of view),” Grant said.

ATK Mohun Bagan will face Hyderabad FC in their next ISL match on February 22 with East Bengal to play NorthEast United FC a day later.