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A to Z of the Kolkata Derby: Alvito D'Cunha to Zirsanga via Maidan

04:30 GMT 20/01/2018
Mohun Bagan East Bengal I-League 2017 Kolkata Derby
The I-League's Kolkata Derby beckoning, Goal brings you the complete guide to what the contest between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan has offered...


A is for Alvito D'Cunha : The former India international won eleven titles in 14 seasons in the Red and Gold  ranks as a player. His 19th-minute wonder goal several seasons ago stood out to be one of the best goals in the history of the derby. On Sunday, he will be serving as the Brand Ambassador and Technical Manager of East Bengal.

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.

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 wins.

D is for Dipanda : The Kolkata teams, known for their prolific strikers have had not much luck in that department so far this season. Only Mohun Bagan's Aser Pierrick Dipanda has shown patches of brilliance and will be expected to score come Sunday.

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 NFL/I-League era, both teams have squared off against one another 41 times and there have been 80 goals scored - an average of 1.95 goals per game. Mohun Bagan have scored only 36 compared to East Bengal's 44 in this period. 

H is for Head to Head:  It's the Red and Golds who take the head to head when it comes to I-League derbies, with East Bengal winning 15 against Mohun Bagan's 13 in 41 matches played between the two teams, while 13 have ended all square in the NFL/I-League era.

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 either ways.  

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 a defenders lose sleep over his ability to convert the meagrest of chances into well-driven 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 a 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 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 Question:  One can speculate and question if East Bengal drop points this time, will they drop out of the title race in the 2017-18 I-League? Meanwhile, Mohun Bagan can only hope to push for at least a top-three finish.

R is for Rovers Cup:  The rivalry has also spilled 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:  East Bengal legend Shyam Thapa scored a brace on that fateful night on 29th September 1975 when the Red and Golds trounced Mohun Bagan 5-0 in the IFA Shield Semi-finals, the highest margin for the derby till date. 

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 37.5%, overshadowing Mohun Bagan's 28.12% in their 90-odd-year-old rivalry. There is also a 34.06% 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 derby returned to the 'Mecca of Indian football' after 680 days earlier this season, post a major facelift for the 2017 FIFA U17 World Cup.

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.