ATK Mohun Bagan do a derby double over East Bengal, seal third place

ATK Mohun Bagan produced a dominant 2-0 win against East Bengal FC here on Saturday to extend Kolkata derby winning streak to six matches in the Indian Super League. It also confirmed a third-place finish for the Mariners in their final league game of the season.
It was ATKMB who were ahead for much of the first-half.

The opening five minutes involved a lot of attacking moves on their part, although none resulted in any substantial scoring opportunities. Pritam Kotal came closest when a ball was chipped to him at the far post after a corner, but the defender sent his volley over the bar.

East Bengal’s first shot on goal was a long-range effort from Suhair VP that Vishal Kaith gathered with ease. Most of the Torch Bearers’ forward moves were limited to counterattacking ones as ATKMB kept control of the possession.

By the middle of the first half, there were pacey crosses in either direction, with robust challenges also coming into the fray which would result in three yellow cards before the half-time whistle.

ISL ATK Mohun Bagan and SC East Bengal players during the match. (Express Photo by Partha Paul)

The second half began similarly to the first, and Petratos was given space to break the deadlock just as the packed spectators held up their flashlights in the 52nd minute.

Ashique Kuruniyan slid the striker through on the left side of the box and he took a moment before striking across the face of the goal with his left foot, only to hit the upright.

But ATKMB would eventually get into the lead. After a series of back-to-back corners that East Bengal FC were able to stave away, centre-back Slavko Damjanovic managed to put the Mariners in front in the 68th minute.

The corner was aimed at Manvir Singh at the near post, whose clever flick bounced over the defensive wall and towards Damjanovic’s head. The defender’s glance bounced off the upright before he helped into goal as it trickled back towards him.

The match continued to keep its high pace, but once again, neither team was presented with anything more than half-chances.

Kuruniyan’s trickery down the left allowed him to cut in at one point, but his right-footed effort was fired over the goal.

At the other end, East Bengal FC were industrious, but were unable to break into the box with regularity.

Their commitment to the equaliser eventually meant two big chances in the span of seconds for ATKMB, and Petratos was on hand to seal the derby for them.

Substitute Kiyan Nassiri was played through in front of goal, but Kamaljit parried his shot; unfortunately for the goalkeeper, it fell straight into Petratos’ path and the striker tapped it in to seal third place for ATKMB.

Their third place finish means ATKMB will stay in Kolkata for their first playoff fixture. The loss for East Bengal FC meant they finished the season in 10th place. The Mariners thus extended their winning streak against East Bengal to eight matches, including the I-League clash in January 2020, before Mohun Bagan’s merger with ATK. East Bengal had last won against the Mariners way back in December 2018, a 3-2 victory in the I-League.

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