Asia's Biggest Rivalries: Mohun Bagan vs East Bengal, India

Many will argue cricket is the national sport of India, but football can be a messy affair too when it comes to fixtures between Mohun Bangan and East Bengal...

FIRST MEETING:

Mohun Bagan 0-0 East Bengal (August 8, 1921)

East Bengal

Founded: 1920

Biggest achievements: East Bengal are one of the most successful clubs in India, having won three I-League titles, eight Federation Cups and 38 Calcutta Football League titles. They also managed to reach the AFC Cup semi-final stage in 2013.

Mohun Bagan

Founded: Mohun Bagan (1889)

Biggest achievements: The oldest Indian club around, Mohun Bagan are record Federation Cup holders with 14 in the bag. They also have four I-League titles and 29 Calcutta Football League titles.

Mohun have won their fair share of titles Photo: Mohun Bagan

KEY MATCHES

1997, July, East Bengal 4-1 Mohun Bagan (Federation Cup Semifinal): Still a confirmed record for the largest ever attendance at an Asian football match; indeed only a handful of matches in Brazil have ever exceeded the recorded 131,000 fans who crammed into the Salt Lake stadium to witness all the passion of the Kolkata derby.

Megastar Bhaichung Bhutia fittingly stole the day, grabbing a hat-trick and almost setting off a riot after he gestured to the crowd following one of those goals as East Bengal romped to a 4-1 win.

1975, September, East Bengal 5-0 Mohun Bagan (IFA Shield Final): This thrashing remains the largest ever win by either club in the long and storied history of the derby and came during a golden period in the mid-1970s for East Bengal.

Going 3-0 down at half-time, by the time the 5-0 rout was completed many irate Mohun Bagan supporters had surrounded the club house where the team was staying. Two players, Subrata Bhattacharrya and Prasun Banerjee, managed to escape and they were so terrified that they spent the night on a boat on the Ganges whilst one 25-year-old Mohun Bagan fan took his own life due to the ‘shame’ of the loss.

A bruising encounter is to be expected in the Kolkada Derby Photo: East Bengal

2012, Decemeber, Mohun Bagan 0-1* East Bengal (2012 I-League) * Match AbandonedFor such a storied fixture it’s surprising that there have been seven recorded ‘walkovers’ between the pair, the most recent being last year when Mohun Bagan refused to play the derby in the local league. But the most infamous came in 2012 when Mohun Bagan refused to surface for the second half  - citing security concerns - after a series of projectiles had been thrown by their own supporters that injured their captain.

They were handed a two-year ban, later overturned on appeal, and docked all of the points they had earned until that date – a historic punishment and one that caused much rancour.

(NEXT: A rivalry that dates back from way, way before)