A to Z of the Kolkata Derby: Acosta to Zirsanga via Maidan

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I-League
The CFL's Kolkata Derby beckoning, Goal brings you the complete guide to what the contest between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan has offered...


GOAL CFL SPECIAL |  BY SWAPNANEEL PARASAR  Follow @Swapyo


A is for Acosta: Johnny Acosta could probably be the most high-profile name to grace the derby. The Costa Rican was seen rubbing shoulders with the likes of Neymar and Coutihno in the recently concluded 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. It remains to be seen if he makes his debut on Sunday, having registered for the club only 48 hours before kickoff.

B is for Bhutia: The Sikkimese Sniper, Bhaichung Bhutia has scored 19 goals in the eponymous Kolkata Derby, 13 for East Bengal while 6 in his second stint as a Mohun Bagan player.

Bhaichung Bhutia at the launch of University Football League (UFL)

C is for Chingri: Mohun Bagan fans - the 'native' Ghotis have made themselves synonymous with chingri - prawns. The debate still continues with Bagan fans famously felicitating players with specially prepared garlands of Golda Chingri (Jumbo Prawns) after many a derby win.

D is for Dipanda: The last time these two met, Aser Pierrick Dipanda won it for Mohun Bagan with his brace. Much will depend upon the Cameroonian again as he once again leads the goalscoring charts this season with 7 goals already in the CFL. His reputation has only grown in Indian football as he has ended up as top scorer in the last two I-Leagues and the 2017 CFL.

E is for Embarrassment: Losing the Kolkata Derby is damning and a gut-wrenching experience. The embarrassment a team brings to itself is insurmountable and the echoes of the defeat still ring the ears of the ones involved until the next derby is played.

F is for Fight: There have been numerous instances of fights between fans from both camps. Some have also resulted in sparks flying into the pitch. Syed Rahim Nabi of Mohun Bagan was infamously hit on the head by a brick hurled from the stands in the 2012-13 season.

G is for Goals: In the history of the CFL, 251 goals have been scored in the Kolkata derbies. East Bengal have the upper hand with 129 but Mohun Bagan are not far behind with 122 to their name.

H is for Head to Head: It's the Red and Golds who take the head to head when it comes to CFL derbies. In 153 meetings, East Bengal have won 51 times whereas the Mariners have 44 victories. On 58 occasions, the games have ended in draws. 

I is for Ilish: The Hilsa fish, or Ilish as it is known, is the Bangal reply to the chingri. Ilish is served when East Bengal win over Mohun Bagan.

J is for Jose Ramirez Barreto: The Brazilian Magician, Jose Ramirez Barreto is not only a revered figure among the Mariners' faithful but has netted 17 derby goals while donning the Green and Maroon jersey - a record.

K is for Krishanu Dey: The 'Indian Maradona' played for both the clubs over a span of 22 years in the 80's and 90's. He made many defenders lose sleep over his ability to convert the meagrest of chances into goals. He formed a lethal attacking combination with Chima Okorie at Mohun Bagan.

L is for Loyalty:  While the likes of Goutam Sarkar, Prasanta Banerjee, Dulal Biswas and Renedy Singh have skippered both sides in their career, players like Jose Barreto, Subrata Bhattacharya, Satyajit Chatterjee, Chuni Goswami, Sailen Manna (All Mohun Bagan) and Tushar Rakshit, Alvito D'Cunha, Ahmed Khan, Tulsidas Balaram (All East Bengal) never jumped ships between the rivals. Rest assured, supporters would always stay loyal to their badge, forever. 

M is for Maidan: Maidan is the iconic green belt of central Kolkata which houses the East Bengal and Mohun Bagan grounds. Many great players have started their careers at the Maidan.

N is for Nepal Chakravarty:  The two teams clashed for the first time in history on 28 May 1925 in the Calcutta Football League when a solitary Nepal Chakravarty goal gave East Bengal a victory over their next door rivals, Mohun Bagan. 

O is for Okorie: Chima Okorie represented the Green and Maroon side in two stints, between 1991-93 and 1997-99, winning trophies galore during his stint including a National Football League. 

P is for Pal: Gostho Behari Pal was a Mohun Bagan legend. He turned out for 24 successive seasons between 1912 and 1936. Nicknamed the 'Wall of China', Pal was the first ever footballer to receive the Padma Shri. His legacy continues as the road on which the Bagan ground is situated is named after him.

Q is for Quess: East Bengal have had a recent upsurge in administration when multi-national company Quess Corp invested heavily over the football team, buying out a 70% stake. The financial prowess has already been on display, given the recent big money signings.

R is for Rovers Cup:  The rivalry has also spilt into the now-defunct Rovers Cup. East Bengal and Mohun Bagan have met 12 times with both sides winning 4 each and drawing 4. East Bengal though have outscored the  Mariners, scoring 11 as compared to Bagan's 9.

S is for Suresh Chandra Chaudhuri: A noted industrialist, he was vice president of the erstwhile Jorabagan club but left his position after star player Sailesh Bose was not allowed to start against Mohun Bagan and formed a breakaway club which now is known as East Bengal. 

T is for Thapa: Legendary striker Shyam Thapa scored a brace on that fateful night on 29 September 1975 when the Red and Golds trounced Mohun Bagan 5-0 in the IFA Shield finals, the highest margin of victory in the derby till date. Also, not many can forget his scissor kick goal, this time for Mohun Bagan in the 1978 CFL derby at the Eden Gardens.

U is for Umakanto Palodhi: Umakanto Palodhi, a Mohun Bagan supporter committed suicide after the 0-5 loss in 1975. In his suicide note was written the lines- “In my next birth, I will take the revenge by becoming a Mohun Bagan footballer.”

V is for Vijayan: The legendary Indian striker has had his fair share of derby experience. 'Kalo Harin' or Black Buck as he was affectionately called, has played for both the Kolkata giants.

W is for Win-Rate:  East Bengal have a win rate of 33.33%, overshadowing Mohun Bagan's 28.75% in their CFL rivalry. There is also a 37.90% probability that the game would end in a stalemate as statistics prove.

X is for Xavier Pius:  In the 70s and 80s, there was a long-haired and bearded striker from Kerala who used to set the Maidan on fire with his lethal strikes. His name was Xavier Pius, a Mohun Bagan legend who now serves as a coach for youth teams in his home state.

Y is for Yuvabharati Krirangan: The Salt Lake Stadium or Yuvabharati Krirangan has been the 'Colosseum' for the derby. An arena which once housed more than 120,000 fanatics has been a part of history hosting quite memorable derbies. The 'Mecca of Indian football' had a major facelift for the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup last year and Mohun Bagan have won on both occasions after the world event.

Salt Lake Stadium

Z is for Zirsanga: Jerry Zirsanga became a part of history books on 5th November 2004 in a friendly between Kuwait and India as he became the youngest Indian to score an international goal, overtaking Bhaichung's record. The Mohun Bagan youth academy product was 16 years, 10 months, 11 days when he achieved the feat.

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