[India], Dec 3 (ANI): In a nail-biting finish, Mohun Bagan defeated Kingfisher East Bengal in the first Kolkata Derby of the 2017/18 Hero I-League at the refurbished Vivekananda Yuvabharati Krirangan (Salt Lake Stadium) here on Sunday.
Kingsley Eze Obumneme's crucial goal in the 39th minute, which the Mariners managed to keep a hold off until the full-time whistle, helped post a 1-0 victory.
While Yuta Kinowaki was passed fit, Arijit Bagui and Naro Hari Shrestha gave a run out in the crunch game. Azharuddin Mallick failed a fitness test in the morning and Chesterpaul Lyngdoh was excluded from the main squad. Khalid Jamil stuck to his 4-1-4-1 formation but the experienced duo of goalkeeper Luis Barreto and defender Gurwinder Singh were ushered in Laldanmawia Ralte was fit to feature from the start.
The progress of the game saw Ansumama Kromah and Aser Dipanda taking early advantage of the home side, but East Bengal remained resolute. However, the young Mehtab Singh was taken off for Lalramchullova early in the game after he was booked for a foul on Sony Norde. Naro Hari Shrestha's outing too was cut short by the introduction of Shaikh Faiaz, all before the half-hour mark.
In the 33rd minute, Kingsley headed in from Sony Norde's flag-kick which Barreto parried off but also hit the post, only to frustrate the Green and Maroon brigade. However, the goal did arrive six minutes later in a similar fashion when the Nigerian defender made sure he broke the deadlock.
Last season's Golden Boot winner, Aser Dipanda's time on the field was cut short by a blow he suffered from a knock with Kingfisher East Bengal's Eduardo Ferreira soon after the resumption of the game and was later taken to the hospital.
Meanwhile, Katsumi Yusa's ferocious curling freekick in the 65th minute had almost sent the Kingfisher East Bengal fans smiling, only to fall few inches wide.
Shilton Paul and Kingsley's game blocked all East Bengal attacks with the keeper even pulling off a delectable shot off Laldanmawia Ralte's angled shot to keep Mohun Bagan in the game.
While East Bengal will face Shillong Lajong on December 9, the Mariners will host Churchill Brothers Goa SC on December 10. (ANI)