Nandhakumar Sekar's strike helped East Bengal FC get the better of Mohun Bagan Super Giant in a thrilling Durand Cup game at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, in Kolkata, on Saturday.
East Bengal coach, Carles Cuadrat was very pleased with his team's performance but is still lingering around the fact, that Durand Cup is more of a pre-season tournament. With Calcutta League and ISL still in the horizon.
Carles Cuadrat said "I am extremely happy for the supporters and to win the Derby match, but nothing is done yet".
The Red & Golds not only registered a hard-fought win in the first Kolkata Derby of the season, but also emerged winners in the derby for the first time since 2019.
The opening half turned out goalless but was intense, with chances coming in the way for both teams.
Armando Sadiku almost put Mohun Bagan SG ahead in the second minute, when he attempted a long ranger, but his shot flew wide.
Moments later, Jordan Elsey had the chance to give East Bengal FC the lead. Harmanjot Khabra's free-kick found the Australian, who directed his header straight to Vishal Kaith.
The keepers from both sides were kept busy on their toes as both Mohun Bagan SG and East Bengal FC created numerous chances throughout the opening half.
However, it was Sekar who broke the deadlock in the second half with a well-taken goal after a counter-attack from East Bengal FC. The winger drove to the edge of the box before cutting inside and bending his shot into the far corner. Vishal Kaith could not manage to parry the shot away despite a full-stretch dive.
The Mariners brought on Dimitri Petratos and Jason Cummings in the second half in search of the equaliser. Mohun Bagan SG gained control of the game despite conceding the goal, but were ineffective in the final third.
The best chance for Juan Ferrando's side came during the 80th minute when Anirudh Thapa's pass took a deflection and fell towards Cummings. The Australian, who was shooting from a tight angle, scuffed his shot wide.
With Mohun Bagan SG have already booked their place in the knockout stages, East Bengal FC will aim to keep their chances of reaching the next round alive as they take on Punjab FC in their final group game on Wednesday.