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East Bengal Ready To Make 119 In Derby.

On 16th October 1905, a British man sliced Bengal to West & East to rule with ease. The time that saw millions of immigrants & natives tagged people fought with courage to unit Bengal.

Time has passed by, people still weeps the day when their Bengal was split into two halves. But the "Boro" derby is the only day when Bengal travels back in past & creates a line between natives (Ghoti) & immigrants (Bangal). It all started on a late summer afternoon in 1925 when a bare-footed Nepal Chakraborty netted the ball, prompting immediate celebrations among a section of fans at the erstwhile Calcutta Football Ground. That day, 28th May 1925, would go down in history books as the first encounter between East Bengal FC and Mohun Bagan Athletic Club. East Bengal won the ‘Boro’ derby (as the local expression goes for a big or important match) by a 1-0 scoreline.

It was quite an achievement for the club as their arch rivals had voted against their promotion to the IFA First Division less than a year ago.

Like many other derbies across the globe the "Boro" derby also has a lot of history. El Classico (Spain) , Manchester Derby (England), Milan Derby (Italy) all includes a history behind each the "Boro" Derbies inception was when the exclusion of star player and an immigrant Bengali, Sailesh Bose from a Jorabagan line-up against Mohun Bagan which resulted in the foundation of East Bengal in 1920 — popularly known as the ‘Lal-Holud Army’ — a club which has since earned the distinction of being the only Indian football club to remain in top flight since the launch of the National Football League.

An on-pitch rivalry and mutual discord eventually boiled over to enmity, with violent clashes between two sets of fans on derby days a regular occurrence. In a country where football is still considered much inferior to cricket, the fanaticism on display among Kolkatans during an East Bengal - Mohun Bagan game is absolutely unparalleled.

Be it the stampede post a strife between the fans in the stands which took a tragic turn and killed eighteen people in 1980 or the well-known tale of Umakanto Palodhi, a Mohun Bagan fan who committed suicide after a humiliating 5-0 loss, the Kolkata derby showcases Bengalis’ all-encompassing passion for the beautiful game. 9th December 0-1, down Mohun Bagan midfielder Syed Rahim Nabi had to be hospitalised in the half time after being hit on the face by a missile, forcing the team management to come off the field in the second half.

Till date, both clubs have come face to face on over 300 occasions (the official match count stands at 312), with East Bengal holding the bragging rights with 118 wins to Mohun Bagan’s 87.

Remembering the nerve-racking Durand Cup Final in 1978 or a 4-1 East Bengal win in the 1997 Federation Cup semi-final, a match which has entered record books for being the singular highest attended the sporting event in India, courtesy a 1,31,000-strong crowd which graced the Salt Lake Stadium.

The stage is set again on 12th February 2017, when Kanchenjungha Stadium in Siliguri will host the "Boro" Derby.
Another spectacular show is on the cards when "Bangal" (immigrants) & "Ghoti"(natives) will battle it out to surge ahead in I-league 2016-2017. The league leaders by far Kingfisher East Bengal though with an extra game & 3 points clear of their arch -rival Mohun Bagan who are yet to lose a game.

Mohun Bagan would bank on their offense comprising of Jeje, Balwant, Sony Norde, Katsumi Yusa & Darrel Duffy. East Bengal, on the other hand, would rely on their marvelous atacking trio of Robin Singh , Wedson Anselme & Willis Deon Plaza sharing 13 goals between them. It would also see a battle of Haitian midfield maestros Wedson Anselme & Sony Norde who once used to be team-mates in Sheikh Jamal Dhanmundi Club Bangladesh. The midfield battle will see Mehtab Hossain & skipper Dika taking on Sehnaj Singh & Katsumi Yusa . The defense is where Kingfisher East bengal has the upper hand with big Ugandan international Bukenya & Gurwinder only conceeding twice in last 6 matches. A stern test awaits for impeccable U22 Nikhil Pujary & Rahul Bheke to stop Sony Norde from making surging runs ahead .

Mohun Bagan AC coach Sanjoy Sen said " Both the teams are placed well in I-League , but East Bengal ha played better football than us." Mind games or modesty has also started in Red & Gold tent when gaffer Trevor James Morgan said " We will play one of the most difficult match on Sunday in I-League". TJM being cautious has rested his trump card Willis Deon Plaza in practice along with Wedson Anselme , whereas Sanjay Sen has opted for the opposite way & trained hard with his team. The Brazilian stopper Edu is still a doubtful for the Derby .

The stage is set yet again when the whole world would witness one of the oldest & fierciest derby. 1 lakh plus people in & outside the stadium would pitch for their beloved teams .

Match will be live on Ten 2 from 4:35pm.

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