SC East Bengal and ATK Mohun Bagan--two heavyweights in Indian football are set to light up the Indian Super League 2021-22 with their legacy and rich history as they go up against each other at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on November 27, Saturday. Both sides have made some quality additions and are gearing up for what would indeed be one of the most important matches in the ISL this season.  SC East Bengal vs ATK Mohun Bagan, ISL 2021–22: Ahead of Kolkata Derby, Take a Look at Last Five Meetings Between the Two Giants

There are hardly a few sporting, especially football rivalries in Asia that can surpass or even match the intensity and emotion that this match carries. Well, just four days remain for both these clubs to add another chapter to this epic rivalry. Let us take a look at a bit of history and some facts about the Kolkata derby, also called, 'Boro Match' (Big Match in Bengali):

SC East Bengal logo (Photo credit: Facebook)

History of the rivalry--How East Bengal was formed

The formation of East Bengal as a club dates way back to 1920. Mohun Bagan were scheduled to play the 1920 Coochbehar Trophy final against Jora Bagan. But two of Jorabagan's best players--Shailesh Bose and Nasha Sen were left out of the final squad. Their exclusions were not for football reasons but several reports claim that this happened because both these players were of 'Bangal' origin. This decision did not sit well with Jorabagan's vice-president Suresh Chowdhury, who later stepped down from that role and in a space of few days, created a new club, which was named 'East Bengal'. This new club would end up getting support from the 'Bangals' (or people from Eastern Bengal, now Bangladesh) who migrated to Kolkata. On the other hand, Mohun Bagan found its fan base among the 'Ghotis' (Bengalis of West Bengal). Fans of both these clubs swear by the colours that these teams wear (Maroon and Green for Mohun Bagan, Red and Yellow for East Bengal) and the Kolkata derby started taking shape with them playing against each other regularly. This clash is not just a game as a lot of sentiment related to ethnicity and culture is linked to this rivalry.

Action during the first SC East Bengal vs ATK Mohun Bagan clash in the Indian Super League (Photo credit: Instagram)

The first Kolkata derby-

The first time that East Bengal and Mohun Bagan squared off against each other was on May 28, 1925, according to official reports. The match was in Kolkata's first division league where East Bengal had ended up triumphant with a 1-0 margin. Nepal Chakravarty etched his name in the history of this epic rivalry by becoming the first scorer in the Kolkata derby. But other sources also claim that these two sides met in the Coochbehar Cup semifinal on August 8, 1921, where the contest had ended in a draw. Mohun Bagan had won the replay semifinal 3-0 two days later.  SC East Bengal vs ATK Mohun Bagan, ISL 2021–22: Here Are Five Things To Look Forward to in the Kolkata Derby

IM Vijayan (left), Peter Thangaraj (middle) and Sunil Chhetri (right) (Photo credit: Twitter and PTI)

Famous players to have played for both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan-

East Bengal and Mohun Bagan are indeed big names in Indian, as well as Asian football and they are sure to attract some top players over the years. A number of big names, the likes of which include former striker IM Vijayan, Krishanu Dey, Peter Thangaraj, Renedy Singh, Bhaichung Bhutia and also current Indian captain and sixth-highest goalscorer in international men's football Sunil Chhetri have plied their trade at least once for both these top Kolkata clubs, amongst others. PK Banerjee is notably and probably the only Indian legendary footballer to not have played for either of these clubs in his playing career.

Bhaichung Bhutia (Photo credit: Twitter)

Highest scorer in the Kolkata derby-

The Kolkata derby is a game with high stakes, passion and emotion involved in it. This match is often considered a make-or-break for many footballers. A good performance can put him right at the top while a poor show on the other hand, is something that weighs in heavily on the player. The highest scorer in the Kolkata derby is former Indian captain and striker Bhaichung Bhutia. The Sikkimese sniper scored a total of 19 times (13 goals in East Bengal colours and six for Mohun Bagan). One of his memorable performances in the Kolkata derby was a hattrick for East Bengal in a 4-1 win over Mohun Bagan. Bhutia, according to East Bengal's website, is also the first hat-trick scorer in a Kolkata derby!

Action during the second SC East Bengal vs ATK Mohun Bagan clash in the Indian Super League 2020-21 (Photo credit: Instagram)

Rivalry renewed in a different battleground--Indian Super League:

A century-old rivalry now has a different battlefield in the Indian Super League. Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, now known as ATK Mohun Bagan and SC East Bengal for sponsorship reasons, would reignite the flames of the Kolkata derby back in Indian football when they clash against each other on November 27. These two clubs share a pretty short history in the ISL. SC East Bengal only started taking part in the competition from last year and in both the Kolkata derbies in the ISL, ATK Mohun Bagan have emerged winners with Fiji striker Roy Krishna scoring consistently. SC East Bengal still await a maiden ISL win over their archrivals and would expect that it comes in the upcoming match.

A fishy match!

A unique fact that many might not know is that the East Bengal vs Mohun Bagan rivalry is not just restricted to football but also transcends to food as well! Bangals, most of whom are East Bengal fans prefer Hilsa fish while Mohun Bagan fans choose prawn. As a matter of fact, fans often carry these fishes to the club grounds before a match just to add some 'flavour' to this rivalry!

Such an epic football rivalry also is not without its tragedies. During a Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal match on August 16, 1980 at the Eden Gardens, fans got into violent altercations with each other, resulting in stampede which claimed the lives of 16 people. This day is remembered as 'Football Lover's Day' and is considered one of the darkest episodes in this rivalry.

All said and done, it is time that these two sides once again prove which of them is the best in Indian football today. ATK Mohun Bagan are 2-0 up currently in the ISL and SC East Bengal loyalists would be eager to have the Red and Gold brigade get the win this time!

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 24, 2021 12:33 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website