East Bengal 2-2 Mohun Bagan: Khalid Jamil's men win eighth consecutive CFL title
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The Kolkata Derby ended in a draw but the Red and Golds won a record 39th title in Siliguri...

East Bengal won their eighth consecutive Calcutta Football League title after they drew 2-2 with arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in the final Premier Division 'A' match of the 2017 season at the Kanchenjunga Stadium in Siliguri.

Carlyle Mitchell (3' OG) pushed Mohun Bagan ahead early on but Laldanmawia Ralte's (44') levelled before the first half. Ansumana Kromah (49' Pen.) lit up hopes for the Mariners but Mahmoud Al Amna (66' Pen.) ensured Khalid Jamil's charges won the Kolkata title, by the virtue of a better goal difference, both ending up with 23 points.

In Jamil's first taste of the Kolkata derby, he threw no surprises when it came to team selection. Luis Barreto manned the goalposts while Samad Ali Mallick, Gurwinder Singh, Carlyle Mitchell and Lalramchullova were posted in front of him in defense.

Syrian recruit Mahmoud Al Amna and India regular Mohammed Rafique presented a strong central midfield pairing while Laldanmawia Ralte and Nikhil Poojary started on the wings. Gabriel Fernandes supported Trinidadian striker Willis Plaza up top.

Shilton Paul was entrusted with the gloves for Mohun Bagan yet again. Arijit Bagui, Eze Kinglsey, Kinshuk Debnath and Ricky Lallammawma made up the backline.

Shilton D'Silva, Raynier Fernandes, Nikhil Kadam and Azharuddin Mallick constituted a flat four-man midfield. The lethal pairing of Stephane Kamo Bayi and Ansumana Kromah spearheaded the Mariner's attack.

It took less than 180 seconds for the East Bengal supporter heavy Kanchenjunga Stadium to go silent. Azharuddin, who was the hero the last time these two sides faced off against each other, shot from the clearance off Mitchell who did well the first time to avert the danger off a prancing Kamo Bayi.

However, the Trinidadian in attempt to send the ball out of play guided it right into his own net, clearly agonising his goalkeeper who was left astounded. With nearly the whole match left, East Bengal were pushed onto the backfoot and were left to play catch-up.

Mohun Bagan looked the more dominant side for the next twenty minutes as the first real chance for the Red and Golds only arrived post the half-hour mark through Al Amna's failed attempt on goal. Gabriel Fernandes did try his best to pull one back for his side but the finishing touch went missing from the Porvorim-born attacker.

Shilton D'Silva was guilty of tripping Gabriel and was duly booked for it. It was Jamil's former Aizawl FC ward Laldanmawia Ralte who brought East Bengal back into the game from the ensuing free-kick.

Lalramchullova found Ralte from Gabriel's curling freekick and the Mizoram-born winger displayed fine poaching instincts to deposit the ball past Shilton Paul.

Goals on either end of the half brought the first period to a close but a draw would not have been enough for the Mariners .

Carlyle Mitchell's evening turned from bad to worse when he conceded a penalty minutes after the resumption as he brought down Kamo Bayi inside the box.

Ansumana Kromah did not mistake whatsoever as his six-yarder ensured Mohun Bagan edged ahead, again.

Kamo Bayi missed a sitter within a couple of minutes of the penalty. Kromah fed the ball to his Ivorian teammate who was one on one with the gloveman but his shot went wide, much to the surprise of his teammates.

East Bengal upped the ante with Willis Plaza, Al Amna and Gabriel all going for glory but the Bagan defense held on.

Three minutes past the hour mark, Raynier Fernandes in a moment of naivety gave away a penalty after Laldanmawia's appeal was awarded by referee Ranjit Bakshi. Willis Plaza's on and off form meant Al Amna was entrusted with the spot kick and the I-League winner came good to equalise for his team, again.

Both teams ended the match with a man down, which turned out to be quite high-octane in the last quarter of an hour. Bagan skipper Kinshuk Debnath was the first to be sent off; second-half substitute Surabuddin Mallick following suit within a couple of minutes - both going into the book twice.

Even five minutes of injury time was not enough for Shankarlal Chakraborty's side who succumbed to their cross-town rivals yet again in the race for the Kolkata title. Both teams ended the season on 23 points each. 

Both having conceded only five goals prior to this match, the title was decided on number of goals scored as the Red and Golds netted in 28 in their nine game as Mohun Bagan could only manage 22, five less than the champions.

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