The ISL kicked off in spectacular fashion after a star-studded opening ceremony included throbbing Bollywood music, dancers and a large fireworks display over Kolkata’s Salt Lake stadium seating some 70,000 fans, business people and celebrities.
It was Fikru Teferra who struck the first goal of ISL to give the home franchise a 27th minute lead in front of home crowd, while Borja Fernandez’s stunning volley from the edge of the box delighted one and all with some top quality stuff.
Substitute Arnal Llibert (90+3rd) gave the Kolkatans enough reasons to celebrate by turning Fikru’s cross from the right to give a perfect ending to the match of the league touted to change the landscape of Indian football.
Mumbai were hit hard by the absence of former France international Nicolas Anelka and injured ex-Arsenal and Sweden star Fredrik Ljungberg.
The iconic stadium might have witnessed such a big crowd during in the reminded one of an East Bengal-Mohun Bagan but the derby never had experienced such motley spectators who varied from hardcore football fans to young families to waving youngsters.
The greatest sporting legend of our country Sachin Tendulkar, Bengal’s favourite son and former Team India captain Sourav Ganguly, actors Amitabh Bachhan, Hrithik Roshan, Ranbir Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra and industrialists Mrs and Mukesh Ambani and others were present in the opening ceremony.