Football

Indian Super League 2020 | Changed habitat, same old rivalry

One of the most important dates in the Indian football calendar, the day of Kolkata Derby, returns after a prolonged break. The clash of the Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan has changed its habitat to be a part of the Indian Super League from this season.

This transformation is the result of a metamorphosis in the two teams’ ownership pattern but the change does little to dent the intensity of the rivalry that is almost a century-old now.

The spirit has definitely permeated to the squads preparing for the “big match” which gets underway at Tilak Maidan Stadium on Friday evening.

“It is a massive game not because we are playing ATK Mohun Bagan, it is important for us because it is our first game as a team,” said the East Bengal gaffer Robbie Fowler.

“But the important thing is you got to go into them and try to use your head. You got to try and be sensible. In these types of games, the players can’t get carried away. You will dive into tackles, you will get too enthusiastic. So in this case, let’s try and play sensibly,” says the Liverpool FC legend. East Bengal has announced experienced defender Daniel Fox as the captain for the season.

Spirit upbeat

The spirit is quite upbeat in the ATK Mohun Bagan camp, which is now an amalgamation of the ISL and the I-League champions. Spanish head coach, Antonio Lopez Habas said both the sides are on an even plane even though his side may have the confidence of winning the opening match against Kerala Blasters.

“Maybe the advantage is with us as we have played the first match and won it. That way it may not be favourable for East Bengal. Again, East Bengal can be benefiting as they are playing their first match,” Habas said.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 3:52:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/indian-super-league-2020-changed-habitat-same-old-rivalry/article33187847.ece

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