When East Bengal officials ‘begged, pleaded, cajoled’ team to beat arch-rivals Mohun Bagan

On 28 December 1957, Bagan led 2-1 at half-time. Then, this happened.

The famous rivalry between these two clubs started when they first met in a Calcutta League match on 25 May 1925. Particularly after Partition, when Mohammedan Sporting’s traditional support base and catchment area were both diminished, these two came to dominate the Kolkata football scene. There have been periods when clubs from other parts of the country like Hyderabad and Punjab gained prominence, but these two clubs have maintained their superior position. The adulation of the fanatical fans and lucrative monetary rewards by both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have secured Kolkata’s place as the nerve centre of Indian football.

This has seen a slight change in the new millennium, with the rise of clubs in Goa, Bengaluru and the North-east, and the start of the ISL. Debashis Majumder, in his well-researched book The History of the Football Clubs in Calcutta, provides some very interesting details of their long-running rivalry during 1947–85. Due to the constraints of space, I offer here a few select—but fascinating—stories about these titans of Indian football.

Until recently, it was widely believed that whenever East Bengal first met Mohun Bagan in any major domestic tournament in India, they would be the more motivated side and emerge victorious. East Bengal met their arch-rivals in the IFA Shield for the first time in the 1944 semi-final. They expectedly won 1-0, with V. Rao scoring the winning goal. After their 1943 victory, they were favoured to win the title a second time, but lost 0-1 to EB Railways in the final.

The two teams met for the first time in Delhi in the 1957 Durand Cup semi-finals, thirty-seven years after East Bengal was formed. The first match ended in a goalless draw. In the replay on 28 December 1957, Mohun Bagan led 2-1 at half-time with goals by inside-left Chuni Goswami and striker Krishna Chandra ‘Kesto’ Pal.

At half-time in the dressing room, East Bengal officials, led by their secretary J.C. Guha, begged, pleaded and cajoled the players to raise their game as it would be an insult to lose to their arch-rivals in their first meeting in India’s oldest football tournament.

T. Balaram, in his first year with East Bengal, was amazed at the sheer passion of the club officials. He said officials touched his feet and, on bended knees, requested the players to make a comeback so that the pride of the Bangal (East Bengalis) all over India was not hurt. Balaram later told me that before the players left the dressing room, a small prayer was held and the players were blessed. Whatever the reasons, East Bengal’s star-studded forward line became highly motivated. They scored twice in the thirty-five-minute second-half, with goals by Balasubramaniam and Moosa, to emerge victorious 3-2.

They used up so much emotional energy in this comeback win that they were flat in the final against Hyderabad City Police two days later. Despite leading by a goal by outside-right Ibrahim, East Bengal lost 1-2 in the final. Balaram later said the officials were sad to lose the final but were overall satisfied as they had overcome arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in their first-ever meeting in Delhi. In fact, for the next fifty years, this jinx of losing the final of a tournament after beating Bagan continued.

In the Rovers Cup, the arch-rivals first met at the Cooperage Stadium, Mumbai, on 29 November 1960 in the semi-finals. East Bengal beat Mohun Bagan 2-1 with goals by defender Arun Ghosh and inside-right B. Narayan. However, the inevitable happened— East Bengal lost 1-2 to Andhra Police in the replayed Rovers Cup final. On the first day, the match had ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw.

Mohun Bagan were able to beat East Bengal in their first meeting in a major domestic tournament only in 1993.

In the 2nd Scissors Cup tournament on 31 August 1993, Mohun Bagan beat East Bengal 2-1 in the final with goals by Vijayan and midfielder Christopher (penalty). Sanjay Majhi reduced the margin for East Bengal in the seventy-seventh minute.

East Bengal too overcame their hoodoo by winning the 2007 Federation Cup tournament for the fifth time—their first since 1996—after beating Bagan 3-2 in the semi-final.

Excerpted with permission from Barefoot to Boots: The Many Lives of Indian Football, Novy Kapadia, Penguin Random House India.

Do you prefer your favourite sports stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday? We have got you covered. Subscribe to The Field’s newsletter.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Top picks, best deals and all that you need to know for the Amazon Great Indian Festival

We’ve done the hard work so you can get right to what you want amongst the 40,000+ offers across 4 days.

The Great Indian Festival (21st-24th September) by Amazon is back and it’s more tempting than ever. This edition will cater to everyone, with offers on a range of products from electronics, home appliances, apparel for men and women, personal care, toys, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more. With such overwhelming choice of products and a dozen types of offers, it’s not the easiest to find the best deals in time to buy before your find gets sold out. You need a strategy to make sure you avail the best deals. Here’s your guide on how to make the most out of the Great Indian Festival:

Make use of the Amazon trio – Amazon Prime, Amazon Pay and Amazon app

Though the festival officially starts on 21st, Amazon Prime members will have early access starting at 12 noon on 20th September itself, enabling them to grab the best deals first. Sign up for an Amazon Prime account to not miss out on exclusive deals and products. Throughout the festival, Prime members will 30-minute early access to top deals before non-Prime members. At Rs 499/- a year, the Prime membership also brings unlimited Amazon Prime video streaming and quick delivery benefits.

Load your Amazon pay wallet; there’s assured 10% cashback (up to Rs 500). Amazon will also offer incremental cashbacks over and above bank cashbacks on select brands as a part of its Amazon Pay Offers. Shopping from the app would bring to you a whole world of benefits not available to non-app shoppers. App-only deals include flat Rs 1,250 off on hotels on shopping for more than Rs 500, and flat Rs 1,000 off on flights on a roundtrip booking of Rs 5,000 booking from Yatra. Ten lucky shoppers can also win one year of free travel worth Rs 1.5 lakhs.

Plan your shopping

The Great Indian Sale has a wide range of products, offers, flash sales and lightning deals. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best deals, or lose your mind, plan first. Make a list of things you really need or have been putting off buying. If you plan to buy electronics or appliances, do your research on the specs and shortlist the models or features you prefer. Even better, add them to your wishlist so you’re better able to track your preferred products.

Track the deals

There will be lightning deals and golden hour deals throughout the festival period. Keep track to avail the best of them. Golden-hour deals will be active on the Amazon app from 9.00pm-12.00am, while Prime users will have access to exclusive lightning deals. For example, Prime-only flash sales for Redmi 4 will start at 2.00pm and Redmi 4A at 6.00pm on 20th, while Nokia 6 will be available at Rs 1,000 off. There will be BOGO Offers (Buy One Get One free) and Bundle Offers (helping customers convert their TVs to Smart TVs at a fraction of the cost by using Fire TV Stick). Expect exclusive product launches from brands like Xiaomi (Mi Band 2 HRX 32 GB), HP (HP Sprocket Printer) and other launches from Samsung and Apple. The Half-Price Electronics Store (minimum 50% off) and stores offering minimum Rs 15,000 off will allow deal seekers to discover the top discounts.

Big discounts and top picks

The Great Indian Festival is especially a bonanza for those looking to buy electronics and home appliances. Consumers can enjoy a minimum of 25% off on washing machines, 20% off on refrigerators and 20% off on microwaves, besides deals on other appliances. Expect up to 40% off on TVs, along with No-Cost EMI and up to Rs 20,000 off on exchange.

Home Appliances

Our top picks for washing machines are Haier 5.8 Kg Fully Automatic Top Loading at 32% off, and Bosch Fully Automatic Front Loading 6 Kg and 7 Kg, both available at 27% discount. Morphy Richards 20 L Microwave Oven will be available at a discount of 38%.

Our favorite pick on refrigerators is the large-sized Samsung 545 L at 26% off so you can save Rs 22,710.

There are big savings to be made on UV water purifiers as well (up to 35% off), while several 5-star ACs from big brands will be available at greater than 30% discount. Our top pick is the Carrier 1.5 Ton 5-star split AC at 32% off.

Also those looking to upgrade their TV to a smart one can get Rs. 20,000 off by exchanging it for the Sony Bravia 108cm Android TV.

Personal Electronics

There’s good news for Apple fans. The Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch Laptop 2017 will be available at Rs 55,990, while the iPad will be available at 20% off. Laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP will be available in the discount range of 20% to 26%. Top deals are Lenovo Tab3 and Yoga Tab at 41% to 38% off. Apple fans wishing to upgrade to the latest in wearable technology can enjoy Rs 8,000 off on the Apple Watch series 2 smartwatch. For those of you just looking for a high quality fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge has Rs. 4500 off on 22nd September.

If you’re looking for mobile phones, our top deal pick is the LG V20 at Rs 24,999, more than Rs 5000 off from its pre-sale price.

Power banks always come in handy. Check out the Lenovo 13000 mAh power bank at 30% off.

Home printers are a good investment for frequent flyers and those with kids at home. The discounted prices of home printers at the festival means you will never worry about boarding passes and ID documents again. The HP Deskjet basic printer will be available for Rs 1,579 at 40% off and multi-function (printer/ scanner/ Wi-Fi enabled) printers from HP Deskjet and Canon will also available at 33% off.

The sale is a great time to buy Amazon’s native products. Kindle E-readers and Fire TV Stick will be on sale with offers worth Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 respectively.

The Amazon Fire Stick
The Amazon Fire Stick

For those of you who have a bottomless collection of movies, music and photos, there is up to 60% off on hard drives and other storage devices. Our top picks are Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 off on Seagate Slim 5TB and 4TB hard drives respectively, available from 8.00am to 4.00pm on 21st September.

The sale will see great discounts of up to 60% off on headphones and speakers from the top brands. The 40% off on Bose QC 25 Headphones is our favourite. Top deals are on Logitech speakers with Logitech Z506 Surround Sound 5.1 multimedia Speakers at 60% off and the super compact JBL Go Portable Speaker at 56% off!

Other noteworthy deals

Cameras (up to 55% off) and camera accessories such as tripods, flash lights etc. are available at a good discount. Home surveillance cameras too will be cheaper. These include bullet cameras, dome cameras, simulated cameras, spy cameras and trail and game cameras.

For home medical supplies and equipment, keep an eye on the grooming and personal care section. Weighing scales, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, body fat monitors etc. will be available at a cheaper price.

The sale is also a good time to invest in home and kitchen supplies. Mixer-grinders and juicers could see lightning deals. Don’t ignore essentials like floor mops with wheels, rotating mop replacements, utensils, crockery etc. Tupperware sets, for example, will be more affordable. There are attractive discounts on bags, especially laptop bags, backpacks, diaper bags and luggage carriers.

Interesting finds

While Amazon is extremely convenient for need-based shopping and daily essentials, it is also full of hidden treasures. During the festival, you can find deals on telescopes, polaroid cameras, smoothie makers, gym equipment, gaming consoles and more. So you’ll be able to allow yourself some indulgences!

Small shopping

If you have children, the festival is good time to stock up on gifts for Diwali, Christmas, return gifts etc. On offer are gaming gadgets such as Xbox, dough sets, Touching Tom Cat, Barbies, classic board games such as Life and more. There are also some products that you don’t really need, but kind of do too, such as smartphone and tablet holders, magnetic car mounts for smartphones and mobile charging station wall stands. If you’re looking for enhanced functionality in daily life, do take a look at the Amazon Basics page. On it you’ll find USB cables, kitchen shears, HDMI cables, notebooks, travel cases and other useful things you don’t realise you need.

Check-out process and payment options

Amazon is also offering an entire ecosystem to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free. For the festival duration, Amazon is offering No-Cost EMIs (zero interest EMIs) on consumer durables, appliances and smartphones, plus exchange schemes and easy installation services in 65 cities. HDFC card holders can avail additional 10% cashback on HDFC credit and debit cards. Customers will also get to “Buy Now and Pay in 2018” with HDFC Credit Cards, as the bank offers a 3 Month EMI Holiday during the days of the sale. Use Amazon Pay balance for fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and a secured shopping experience.

Sales are fun and with The Great Indian Festival offering big deals on big brands, it definitely calls for at least window shopping. There’s so much more than the above categories, like minimum 50% off on American Tourister luggage! To start the treasure hunt, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of and not by the Scroll editorial team.