SC East Bengal came head to head against their arch-rivals ATK Mohun Bagan yesterday at Tilak Maidan in the all awaited first Kolkata Derby in Indian Super League. Antonio Lopez Habas’s men proved victorious as they demolish their city rivals by a comfortable 2-0 victory. The match grabbed the attention of the Indian sports fraternity as the teams fought with great intensity for the 90 minutes duration. In this article, we will look at the tactical aspects of the game. So here is our exclusive SC East Bengal vs ATK Mohun Bagan Tactical Review for you bringing the highlights and analysis from yesterday’s high voltage Kolkata Derby.
Mohun Bagan’s dominance on the right flank
ATK Mohun Bagan prefers to hit the opponents on counter-attacks from the wide areas of the pitch. From the word go, Mohun Bagan used their wing-backs to a large extent in their offensive measures. Subhasish and Prabir were overlapping and were also in the meantime provided cover for the defense. Prabir was the orchestrator for the Mariners from the right side of the pitch. He was combining brilliantly with Javi and Williams playing the ones and two’s and launching the crosses in the box.
East Bengal’s left-back Narayan Das was having a rough time against Mohun Bagan’s attacking mobilization through the right side. Prabir’s attempt in the earlier stages caused Debjit problems, as one of his crosses hit the crossbar and on another occasion pushed him to make a save. In the second half also, Mohun Bagan’s goal came from the attacking moves from the right side. Especially Manvir’s second goal came from a move that was a result of East Bengal’s failure to give protection to the right flank.
East Bengal’s passing football caught the eye
Despite losing the game, SC East Bengal impressed on their first match in ISL with their style of play under new boss Robbie Fowler. East Bengal’s build-up play depended a lot on playing effective short passes and trying to find out the player in space by playing through passes. Pilkington was often seen dropping down to the deeper regions of the midfield trying to involve himself in the team’s scheme of things. Matti Steinmann was the player to watch out for in the midfield as the German midfielder was playing the ball out to his teammates with his intricate passing skills.
Maghoma was also involved in the team’s build-up play. In the majority of the first half, SC East Bengal was successful in finding the spaces in the central areas of the pitch which made them looked dangerous in the first half. As the match slowly came to the end, the passing became sketchy and a lot of miss passes were seen. This come out as one of the main reasons, why ATK Mohun Bagan made a strong comeback in the second half as SC East Bengal looked helpless and under pressured under Mohun Bagan’s pressing.
Mariner’s defense stood strong
If there is a single attribute that makes ATK Mohun Bagan’s team so unique in ISL is their defensive organization. The Trio of Sandesh, Pritam, and Tiri stood tall throughout the match. They were aerially very astute as they prevented East Bengal from getting an advantage in the aerial duels. They were precise and clean with their tackling as they hardly fouled their opponent’s in the final third.Carl McHugh, Jayesh Rane, and the wingback pair of Subhasish and Prabir gave them the cover, as they rushed back in defense in case of East Bengal’s attacking transition.
The Mohun Bagan low block didn’t give out space to the Red and Gold’s offensive players to play through balls in the final third. In the case of counter-attacks, Pritam took the lead as he saved the team on numerous occasions. Sandesh and Tiri were also made several interceptions and clearances in the final third. Sandesh’s interceptions proved rather important for the Mariners. Tiri made many last-ditch attempts which prevented the opponents from scoring goals. Mohun Bagan’s defensive unit stood out as a cohesive work-force.
Lack of proper finisher upfront for the Red and Golds
SC East Bengal was undoubtedly missing a fox in the box, as the team licks wounds of the missing chances. The lack of a proper no.9 made it tough for East Bengal to find the much-needed goal. Balwant Singh looked out of touch after getting some game time after a long time. The Indian International missed quite a few chances throughout the match.
In the second half, the problem got worse as the lack of holding skills from the East Bengal forwards made it easy for the Mohun Bagan defenders to take control of the ball by snatching it easily from them resulting in a quick counter-attack, from one such case Mohun Bagan found their third goal. East Bengal will need a goal scorer and will want Holloway to hit the ground as soon as possible and with the rumors of signing a new striker also looming large. Jeje might get a go in the next match, but this problem of East Bengal needs to addressed quickly or this one rotten mango can make the whole bunch of pros of the side taste sour.
Mohun Bagan’s constant pressing and clinical nature upfront
Habas prefers to sit back and counter and for that plan to succeed the one thing that is a must is clinical finishing upfront, to convert from the chances you create on counter-attacks. Mohun Bagan has again passed that taste with flying colors as both the Mohun Bagan goals are examples of top-class finishing skills, with Krishna finding the net from a tight situation to Manvir showing exemplary ball-carrying ability.
Another attribute that makes ATKMB forwards special is their work rate as they pressed the opponent defenders throughout the duration of the game to force them to make an error and some hurried clearances. It was a mission successful as they forced the East Bengal defenders to play miss passes which resulted in the Red and Golds losing possession to the Green and Maroons army. Manvir also continued the pressing as he subbed on and was making a run on the defenders with the ball pressurizing them and as a result, he often dispossessed them and paved the way for a counteroffensive.
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