Last updated: 27th Nov, 2020 1:07pm

The 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) season begins for SC East Bengal on Friday at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco, Goa, on Friday evening with the first-ever Kolkata Derby in the ISL. Robbie Fowler’s side play their first-ever ISL game, and it could not be a bigger clash than one against ATK Mohun Bagan.

ATK Mohun Bagan won their first game of the season against Kerala Blasters, after a second-half goal from Roy Krishna gave them a 1-0 success in the opener.

They are a settled side, and SC East Bengal will have their work cut out if they are to gain any points from this game.

Given that SC East Bengal have had shorter preparation time, it would not be a surprise to see Fowler’s side start a bit slower than the rest of the teams we have seen in the competition so far.

SC East Bengal vs ATK Mohun Bagan Head-to-Head

In the last 45 derby clashes, East Bengal have beaten Mohun Bagan 18 times, losing only 14 times to the Mariners.

However, in the last I-League clash between the two sides, Mohun Bagan beat East Bengal 2-1, thanks to goals from Joseba Beitia and Baba Diawara. Marcos de la Espada scored for the Red and Gold brigade.

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SC East Bengal vs ATK Mohun Bagan Team News

Fowler is expected to line East Bengal up with three center-backs. Lalramchullova and Narayan Das are likely to take up the wing-back roles.

Much is expected from Anthony Pilkington and Jacques Maghoma,

who are expected to start behind the striker, which is likely to be Balwant Singh.

Matti Steinmann has a massive role to play in the heart of midfield, where he will have to contend with the likes of Carl McHugh and Javi Hernandez.

For ATK Mohun Bagan, Antonio Lopez Habas will miss Michael Soosairaj for the remainder of the season,

after the man from Tamil Nadu suffered a ruptured ACL in the first game against Kerala Blasters. Subhasish Bose will start in the left wing-back role instead of Soosairaj.

David Williams could also come back into the starting XI, in place of Edu Garcia,

but the rest of the side is expected to remain similar.

SC East Bengal vs ATK Mohun Bagan Predicted XI

SC East Bengal Predicted XI (3-4-2-1): Debjit Majumder; Scott Neville, Danny Fox, Rana Gharami; Lalramchullova, Matti Steinmann, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Narayan Das; Anthony Pilkington, Jacques Maghoma; Balwant Singh

ATK Mohun Bagan Predicted XI (3-4-1-2): Arindam Bhattacharya; Pritam Kotal, Sandesh Jhingan, Tiri; Prabir Das, Pronay Halder, Carl McHugh, Subhasish Bose; Javi Hernandez; David Williams, Roy Krishna.

SC East Bengal vs ATK Mohun Bagan Prediction

We are predicting a narrow win for ATK Mohun Bagan,

simply because they are a more settled unit, and have already played a game this season. East Bengal, having a completely new squad, will need a few games before they settle into the competition.

SC East Bengal could not have hoped for a bigger debut game as they start their journey in the ISL with the ‘Boro Game’.

Since then, Mohun Bagan have merged with ATK to become ATK Mohun Bagan, and SC East Bengal will play their first match ever in the ISL. We can expect nothing short of fireworks when these two famed rivals lock horns on the football pitch.

Prediction: SC East Bengal 1 – 2 ATK Mohun Bagan