ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) prevailed over eternal rivals SC East Bengal in the first-ever Kolkata derby in the Indian Super League (ISL) as second half goals from Fijian striker Roy Krishna and Manvir Singh secured a 2-0 victory at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Friday.
SC East Bengal wore black armbands in memory of Argentine great Diego Maradona, who died after a heart attack on Wednesday, and both teams observed a minute’s silence prior to kickoff to honour Indian football stalwarts P K Banerjee and Chuni Goswami, who passed away earlier this year.
After netting the match-winner against Kerala Blasters in the tournament opener, Krishna continued his prolific run by scoring the opening goal in the 49th minute before substitute Manvir sealed the three points with a dazzling solo effort in the 85th minute.
Both sides started the match intent and the first chance went to East Bengal as Anthony Pilkington brilliantly cut inside from the left but lost his footing inside the box in the seventh minute.
This was followed by ATKMB’s Prabir Das hitting the crossbar with an attempted cross before Pilkington tested East Bengal goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharja with a tame effort in the 20th minute.
East Bengal were let down by striker Balwant Singh as he missed a number of chances, the first of which came in the 38th minute when he blasted wide from a Surchandra Singh cross.
It took just four minutes for ATKMB to break the deadlock after the half-time interval, as Krishna received the ball outside the penalty area and arrowed in his shot past a hapless Debjit Majumdar in goal.
Robbie Fowler’s men responded quickly to the goal, creating a guilt-etched chance for Balwant to equalise at the hour-mark, but the striker only managed to blast over the bar from point-blank range.
East Bengal kept pushing for an equaliser with Pilkington forcing Bhattacharja into a brilliant diving save in the 83rd minute. Minutes later, ATKMB secured the win with Manvir receiving the ball in midfield before beating the East Bengal defence and burying his effort past Majumdar.
The win maintains ATK Mohun Bagan's perfect start to the season, who have six points from two matches, including two clean sheets, above NorthEast United on four points.
They will next be in action on December 3, when they take on Odisha FC, while East Bengal face Mumbai City FC the day before.