Top 10 interesting and unknown facts about the Kolkata Derby

The two Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are playing their first season in the Indian Super League. East Bengal signed new investors on board, Shree Cement and is now known as SC East Bengal as they will make their ISL debut on 27th November.

On the other hand, Mohun Bagan has merged with 3 times ISL winner ATK and is now known as ATK Mohun Bagan FC. They have already made their ISL debut in the opening match of this campaign and won 1-0 against Kerala Blasters FC.

The Kolkata Derby on 27th November will showcase the biggest rivalry of Indian football to a larger audience. The match between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan is also referred to as ‘Boro Match’.

As we are just a day away from the first Kolkata derby in ISL, let’s take a look at some of the unknown and interesting facts about the Kolkata Derby.

First Kolkata Derby

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The first Kolkata Derby was held on 8th August 1921, in the semifinal of the Cooch Behar Cup. The game ended in a 0-0 draw but Mohun Bagan won the replayed semi-final on 10th August by defeating East Bengal 3–0. The goal scorers for Mohun Bagan were Rabi Ganguly, Paltu Dasgupta and Abhilash Ghosh.

Kolkata Derby means Ghoti-Bangal rivalry

Ghoti refers to the people whose ancestors were from the western region of Bengal before the partition, while Bangal refers to those whose ancestors belong to the eastern region of Bengal before partition (now Bangladesh). Many of them migrated to India during the partition.

So the initial concept was Ghotis cheer for Mohun Bagan and Bangals cheer for East Bengal. As time passed by, the Ghotis and Bangals have lived together in West Bengal but the rivalry was initially based on this.

The derby result also has an effect on the fish prices in West Bengal. The Ghotis are associated with Chingri (prawn) and Bangals with Ilish (Hilsa). The two teams celebrate the derby win by eating their heritage fishes. So if East Bengal wins, the price of Hilsa increases and vice-versa.

Biggest margin of victory

East Bengal beat Mohun Bagan by 5-0 on 30th September 1975 in the IFA Shield final. This is the biggest margin of win in the Kolkata derby. Shyam Thapa scored 2 goals while Ranjit Mukherjee, Surajit Sengupta and Subhankar Sanyal scored a goal each for the Red and Gold Brigade.

Umakanto Palodhi committed suicide

Umakanto Palodhi, a Mohun Bagan supporter committed suicide after the 0-5 loss in 1975 IFA Shield final. The Mariners fan couldn’t bear the loss by the biggest margin and wrote in his suicide letter: “In my next birth, I will take the revenge by becoming a Mohun Bagan footballer.”

Darkest day

On 16th August 1980, the Kolkata Derby witnessed its darkest moment which saw 16 young lives lost. The referee gave a red card to one each of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan player, Dilip Palit and Bidesh Basu, in the second half. This caused a controversy among the fans of both teams sitting together (usually the fans are separated but that was not the case that day). Eventually, it resulted in a stampede at the Eden Gardens which took the lives of 16 people.

Highest attendance

1,31,000 supporters came to the Salt Lake stadium to watch the Kolkata Derby in the Federation Cup 1997 semifinal. East Bengal won the match 4-1 as Baichung Bhutia scored a hattrick.

Player with the most goals

Indian football legend Bhaichung Bhutia has scored a total of 19 goals in the Kolkata derby, which is the highest. He scored 13 goals while playing for East Bengal and the other 6 goals while playing for Mohun Bagan.

Jose Ramirez Barreto comes second in the list with 17 goals. He scored all of his goals for Mohun Bagan, which makes him the player with the highest number of goals for one side.

Captaining both the teams

Goutam Sarkar, Prasanta Banerjee, Dulal Biswas and Renedy Singh hold the unique record of leading both the teams in the Kolkata Derby.

The Calcutta Derby ends up with a 2-2 draw

Win tally

There have been a total of 369 matches between the two teams, till date, of which 327 were competitive matches. Considering all the matches, East Bengal have won 129 matches and Mohun Bagan have emerged victorious in 119 matches while 121 matches ended in a draw. If we consider only the competitive matches, then also East Bengal beat Mohun Bagan by 122-93 while 112 matches ended in a draw.

Centenary, bicentenary and tricentenary Kolkata derbies

Centenary Kolkata Derby: 16th December 1927 in the Rovers Cup final where East Bengal defeated Mohun Bagan by 2-0.

Bicentenary Kolkata Derby: April 1993 in the Airlines Cup final in which Mohun Bagan won 6-5 in the tie-breaker.

Tricentenary Kolkata Derby: 8th January 2012 in the Calcutta Football League where Mohun Bagan won by 2-0.

Rahul Roy
I am a computer guy by profession and a sports fanatic by choice.

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