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ISL 2020-21: ATK Mohun Bagan’s Tiri – ‘Kolkata Derby will be incredible’

The Spanish defender can’t wait to take on East Bengal on Friday evening…

There was a ring of uncertainty on the fate of the Kolkata Derby a few months back when East Bengal‘s participation in the Indian Super League (ISL) was shrouded with doubts, while Mohun Bagan had already jumped ship into the top tier, courtesy of a merger with ATK

With Shree Cement Limited coming on board as the majority investor, East Bengal were finally handed a pathway to participate in the ISL. On the other hand, Indian football aficionados rejoiced as the Kolkata derby would only get bigger and better with the marquee match now set to be played in the top tier. 

Tiri has been somebody who has been associated with ISL since 2015 and has been a part of it in every edition. In fact, he has spent two seasons with ATK (2015 and 2016) and is well acquainted with the magnitude of the match. But he is yet to make a debut in this high-voltage fixture.

“I have been in India for 6 years and I have seen the derbies on television, it will be incredible to be able to experience it!  I think it will be something incredible. To be able to play a derby is always nice! This year will be different without our fans but a derby is a derby and you have to give 100 per cent as in every match,” expressed the player to Goal. 

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ATK Mohun Bagan have got off to a perfect start with the win against Kerala Blasters and now their focus is on the boro match (Big match) as it is fondly called in Bengal. 

Tiri put in a brilliant shift at the back against Blasters and he would hope to get another clean sheet against East Bengal as well. He followed Gary Hooper like a shadow throughout the 90 minutes and nullified the threat of the British striker. 

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On Friday, it is likely that he would have to go up against either Balwant Singh or Jeje Lalpekhlua. Both the strikers haven’t been at their best lately. While Jeje is making a comeback from a lengthy injury layoff, Singh hardly had minutes for ATK in the 2019-20 season. Hence, they might be a bit rusty. 

But Tiri must remain on his toes as both would be keen to prove a point and grab the opportunity of becoming the blue-eyed boy of millions of fans with a goal against the arch-rivals. 

However, this derby is likely to be a shadow of what it usually is as the fixture would be played behind closed doors in an empty Tilak Maidan due to the pandemic. Without the fans, Tiri would not get to experience the electrifying atmosphere that the derby is known for. Yet, a win on his debut derby would definitely make it a memorable one. 


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