ISL 2020-21: 3 Things to Look Forward to as East Bengal Make ISL Debut in Kolkata Derby Against ATK Mohun Bagan

Nov 27, 2020, 4:29 PM GMT+5:30
East Bengal face ATK Mohun Bagan for the first Kolkata Derby in ISL history
East Bengal face ATK Mohun Bagan for the first Kolkata Derby in ISL history | ATK Mohun Bagan twitter

The first Kolkata derby in the history of the Indian Super League is almost upon us as new entrants ATK Mohun Bagan and East Bengal face off at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Friday.

ATK MB come into this clash on the back of a 1-0 win over Kerala Blasters. East Bengal, meanwhile will be making their debut in ISL against their eternal rivals.

Their club might be new to the ISL, but their squad isn't. East Bengal has built an incredible side ahead of their entry into the league.

The match will kick off at 7:30 on Star Sports and Hotstar.

Here are three things that could define this legendary clash....

1. Squad depth

ATK Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal
ATK Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal | ATK Mohun Bagan FC Twitter

Both teams have incredible squads on paper but East Bengal's squad is bigger and the coach has more options to choose from.

Here are both sides' squads registered for this season....

SC East Bengal:

Goalkeepers: Debjit Majumder, Sankar Roy, Mirshad Michu, Rafique Ali

Defenders: Samad Mallick, Abhishek Ambekar, Daniel Fox, Scott Neville, Narayan Das, Mohamad Irshad, Gurtej Singh, N Rohen Singh, Lalramchullova, Rana Gharami, Anil Chawan

MidfieldersSehnaj Singh, Matti Steinmann, Jacques Maghoma, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Wahengbam Luwang, Bikash Jairu, Yumnam Singh, Surchandra Singh, Loken Meitei, Mohammed Rafique, Aaron Amadi-Holloway, Anthony Pilkington, Milan Singh, Haobam Singh

Forwards: Balwant Singh, Jeje Lalpekhlua, CK Vineeth, Girik Khosla, Harmanpreet Singh

ATK Mohun Bagan:

Goalkeepers: Arindam Bhattacharja, Dheeraj Singh, Avilash Paul, Arsh Shaikh, Aryan Niraj Lamba

Defenders: Tiri, Pritam Kotal, Prabir Das, Sandesh Jhingan, Subhasish Bose, Sumit Rathi

Midfielders: Pronay Halder, Bradden Inman, Javier Hernandez, Edu Garcia, Carl McHugh, Glan Martins, Jayesh Rane, Michael Soosairaj, Boris Singh, Regin Michael, Sahil Sheikh, N Engson Singh

Forwards: David Williams, Roy Krishna, Manvir Singh, Md. Fardin Ali Molla

2. East Bengal's wealth of Indian players

East Bengal to make their debut in ISL tonight
East Bengal to make their debut in ISL tonight | Indian Super League

East Bengal's Indian contingent has a combined experience of 611 ISL matches which is the highest among all teams. Players like Narayan Das (90 appearances), Jeje Lalpekhlua (69 appearance) and Balwant Singh (59 appearances) will lead the way for the new ISL club.

Their front three of Jeje, CK Vineeth and Balwant Singh have a combined 45 goals in the ISL till date.

To summarize, East Bengal have Indians in their squad who have scored a combined 55 ISL goals, second only to Bengaluru FC's 61.

3. ATK Mohun Bagan's strong defence could be the key

ATK Mohun Bagan squad
ATK Mohun Bagan squad | ATK Mohun Bagan Twitter

Breaking the defence of a side managed by Antonio Habas has always been difficult for any manager in the ISL. Kerala Blasters faced the same problem in the first game.

East Bengal will need to be at their very best if they are to earn anything from this match. They have to deal with the likes of ATK MB defenders like Sandesh Jhingan, Tiri and Pritam Kotal as well as wingbacks Prabir Das and Subhasish Bose.

Kerala Blasters could not even conjure up a shot on target in the ISL opener but East Bengal's attack could ask ATK's defenders to bring the very best out of them if they are to gain three points from this epic derby clash.