ATK Mohun Bagan grab bragging rights with first ISL Kolkata Derby win over East Bengal

Roy Krishna and Manvir Singh delivered for ATK Mohun Bagan in the second half to beat the Robbie Fowler-coached East Bengal on their ISL debut.

By Naveen Peter ·

ATK Mohun Bagan continued their fine start to the Indian Super League (ISL) season with a 2-0 win over East Bengal in the Kolkata Derby on Friday.

At the Tilak Maidan, Roy Krishna (49th minute) and Manvir Singh (85th minute) scored spectacular second-half goals to hand Bagan their second win of ISL 2020-21, pushing them to the top of the ISL points table.

Unlike the other teams in the league, who played their opening match last week, East Bengal started their ISL 2020-21 campaign with the Derby. 

But despite the delayed start, the Robbie Fowler-coached side looked on top of their game and often dominated the match with their delightful movements.

While Matti Steinmann pulled the strings from the middle, Anthony Pilkington and Jacques Maghoma were proving to be trouble for the Bagan backline. 

Steinmann was calm on the ball, often holding on to possession to let his team-mates run into spaces before threading through some delightful passes.

Photo: Roy Krishna handed ATK Mohun the lead in the 49th minute. Photo: ISL Media

One such pass saw Pilkington find the ball inside the penalty area. While the former Norwich City man did well to cut in and leave Pritam Kotal (his marker) chasing shadows, another touch was his undoing as Tiri closed in to block his shot at goal.

That move, however, was just the beginning of East Bengal’s dominance in the opening half. 

While Pilkington often ran in and played between the lines, Balwant Singh did enough to keep the defenders engaged with his movements. This opened up space for others to have a say at the Bagan goal.

Maghoma came close to giving East Bengal the lead soon. With Steinmann setting up Narayan Das with another good-looking ball on the far side, the Indian full-back delivered a well-weighted cross into the Bagan box. But the Congolese miss-timed his jump as the chance went begging. 

Later, Mohun Bagan too had their opportunity to sneak ahead in the game. 

Having found the end of a training ground routine, though Javier Hernandez did well to create some space inside a crowded East Bengal box and drill in a shot, goalkeeper Debjit Majumder was up to the task as he pulled off a fine save, diving low to his left to deny the Spaniard.

That, however, gave ATK Mohun Bagan enough confidence as they came charging in the second half and wasted no time in taking the lead. 

And it was once again the destructive Roy Krishna-David Williams duo that did the damage for ATK Mohun Bagan. 

Running on to a through ball 40 yards from the East Bengal goal, David Williams was up to the task as he dinked past his maker to lay up Roy Krishna at the edge of the penalty area. The Fijian did the rest as he unleashed a powerful low drive to hand Bagan the lead.

Though East Bengal tried their best to crawl back into the tie with Pilkington and Maghoma testing Arindam Bhattacharja in the ATK Mohun Bagan goal, nothing seemed to go past the 31-year-old as the Mariners went on to seal the match with their second just before the full-time whistle.

Controlling a lofted ball at the half-line, Manvir Singh burst through the flank before cutting and finding the top corner with his weaker foot to put the result beyond doubt.