East Bengal, Mohun Bagan ready for possibly I-League’s last Kolkata derbyJanuary 26, 2019, Kolkata
Even though there’s near-zero visibility on the road ahead, it is possible that Sunday’s East Bengal-Mohun Bagan contest will be the last of the I-League Kolkata derbies. That’s because both teams are said to have a foot in Indian Super League (ISL).
Should this really be it, the teams will hope that the presence of key attacking players will add fluency to campaigns that have been flagging. So step forward internationals Sony Norde and Enrique Esqueda.
Both missed the December 16 derby with injuries but while East Bengal forward Esqueda, who has represented Mexico nine times, hasn’t played since December 8, wide left Norde started three games going into this tie.
This will be Esqueda’s derby debut should East Bengal coach Alejandro Menendez give him some game time. Haiti international Norde has played seven derbies but scored only once. Crucially, Norde also hasn’t lost a match against East Bengal. Asked about the kind of impact Norde could have, Menedez said: “We will see on Sunday.”
Also making the plotline different from last time is the growing influence of Antonio Dovale in East Bengal’s midfield. How Mohun Bagan cope with Dovale and the foreigners they choose from among Yuta Kinowaki, Omar Elhussieny, Henry Kisekka and Dipanda Dicka to join Norde could be crucial to the outcome. “This match will be decided on small details,” said Menendez.