East Bengal vs Mohun Bagan Durand Cup 2023: Nandha Kumar’s stunner brings joy to East Bengal fans after four years

East Bengal defeated Mohun Bagan by 1-0 in the Durand Cup 2023 Group A match after Nandha Kumar found the net in the 60th minute of the match.
Nandha Kumar celebrating the goal with his East Bengal teammates.
Nandha Kumar celebrating the goal with his East Bengal teammates.

East Bengal defeated Mohun Bagan nearly after four years by 1-0 to win this season's first Kolkata derby. It was Nandha Kumar's stunner in the 60th minute of the match that helped the red and yellow brigade secure a win over the current ISL champions. East Bengal last won a derby back on 27th January 2019. This is their first win in nine games against Mohun Bagan.

First half | East Bengal vs Mohun Bagan

East Bengal unexpectedly started really well against a solid team in Mohun Bagan Super Giant. East Bengal's Borja, Nadha Kumar and Naorem Mahesh formed a great combination to surprise the Mohun Bagan defence. Meanwhile, captain Harmanjot Khabra looked at his prime looking after the East Bengal defence. On the other hand, it was Anirudh Thapa and Manvir Singh created some chances for the green and maroon without any result.

Game's first big chance came for East Bengal but it was Brendan Hamill who saved Mohun Bagan from going down by one goal early in the game. It was Naorem Mahesh whose brilliant cross found Siverio. But Saverio could not send the ball past Hamill to make it 1-0 for the red and yellow brigade.

On the counterattack, Hugo Boumous had found his first chance of the match but wasted it shooting narrowly wide of the goalpost. East Bengal looked a far better side with and without the ball creating great spaces between the midfield for Mahesh and Nanda to do their job. In the 37th minute, Borja Herrera's floating ball nearly found Mahesh in the left flank. But, Vishal Kaith was there to negotiate with safe hands.

At the very end of the first, Khabra fouled Liston to get the first yellow of the match. Hugo nearly took advantage of that foul with a floating free-kick. But Gill made a great save to deny Mohun Bagan the lead.

Second half | East Bengal vs Mohun Bagan

The second half started with a few great attacks from Mohun Bagan. In the 56th minute, Anwar Ali nearly scored a stunner from the midfield but the ball just went over the bar to deny the goal. Mohun Bagan then brought in a double change in Jason Cummins and Dimi Petratos to score the first goal of the match. However, it was East Bengal who drew the first blood via a stunner by Nandha Kumar. In the 60th minute, Nadha Kumar received a brilliant pass from Borja on the right and dribbled past Anirudh Thapa to send in a curving outswinger to net the ball. The East Bengal Gallery celebrated like it was an early Durgapuja for them.

Post the goal from East Bengal, Mohun Bagan brought in Sahal Abdul Samad replacing Manvir Singh. Soon, Cummings received his first chance of the match but lofted the ball over the ball to disappoint the Mohun Bagan fans. East Bengal then received another chance to increase the lead. But, Guite could not keep the ball down to make it 2-0. However, the game's best chance came in the 81st minute of the match for Mohun Bagan for Jason Cummings who headed the ball over the bar to disappoint the fans.

In a rain-effected last 10 minutes of the game, Anwar Ali nearly had equalled for the Mariners but he could not be on target from Petratos's corner. The final whistle meant East Bengal fans could enjoy the glory after four years of agony and disappointment.

East Bengal crowd could not hold on to their emotions as many fans crossed the barricade and came down to the ground to celebrate their derby win after nine games.

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