'December 9, 2012 is history for us' - East Bengal's Harmanjot Khabra

The Red and Gold midfielder was on the score sheet during the temperamental Derby on December 9, 2012 which was later called off....
A maiden Derby goal is something that every player playing for East Bengal or Mohun Bagan will savour. Harmanjot Khabra is one such player who had finally found out what it means to score in a match as intense as the Kolkata Derby. The 26-year old had headed the Red and Gold into the lead in the Kolkata Derby before the game took an ugly turn and was called off last year.

Mohun Bagan captain Odafa Okolie was sent off for aggresive behaviour towards the referee and this prompted violence from the crowd. Mariners midfielder Syed Rahim Nabi had to be rushed to a hospital after he was struck by a missile from the crowd. The Green and Maroon completed the first half but chose not to contest the second half as the club's officials felt that the security at the Salt Lake Stadium had been compromised.

"I feel very disturbed whenever my mind travels back to that day. All that took place shouldn’t have happened," said Khabra to The Telegraph.

"Anyway, it’s history now. We’re very much sure those scenes won’t be repeated this Saturday. Spectators will enjoy every moment of the match," added the midfielder.

Both sides will have everything to play for as Bagan look to use the momentum gained from last week's 3-1 win over ONGC FC to help salvage some pride from what has been a disastrous season.

East Bengal on the other hand returned to the summit of the I-League table after a brief dip in form and a Derby victory will ensure that the Red and Gold are firmly in the driving seat for the title.

"If we’re to remain at the top of the table, we must win Saturday’s game. For sure, it won’t be easy given the hype surrounding this match. But professional footballers should be aware of what their job is irrespective of the circumstances," Khabra opined.

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