Football in India has a rich history, with origins dating back to the late 19th century when the sport was introduced by British soldiers. Over the years, football has grown tremendously in popularity across the country. With the rise of professional football leagues and tournaments, intense rivalries between clubs have also developed. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest football rivalries in India.
This article is especially relevant for those following the new 2023/24 Indian Super League season. And also for sports betting enthusiasts. Betting on these derbies is available after Mostbet BD login.
The Kolkata Derby – East Bengal vs Mohun Bagan
The Kolkata Derby between East Bengal and Mohun Bagan is regarded as the biggest rivalry in Indian football. This iconic clash between the two Kolkata giants dates back to the 1920s. The derby matches are a massive event in Kolkata, bringing the city to a standstill. Over 1 lakh fans pack the stadium and the streets are deserted during the games. There have been many memorable matches over the years, with last-minute winners and intense battles on the pitch. The rivalry is deeply ingrained in the local culture.
The Maharashtra Derby – Mumbai City FC vs FC Pune City
A rivalry that has grown rapidly since the inception of the Indian Super League in 2014 is the Maharashtra Derby between Mumbai City FC and FC Pune City. As the two clubs representing the major cities of the state, a passionate rivalry has developed between the sets of fans. These intense encounters see both teams go all out for bragging rights. The fans create an electrifying atmosphere with their tifos, chants, and noise. A hard-fought draw in 2018 with a last-minute equalizer for Mumbai remains a memorable match.
The Kerala Derby – Kerala Blasters vs Bengaluru FC
The South Indian rivalry between Kerala Blasters and Bengaluru FC packs in the crowds. With both teams enjoying massive local support, the atmosphere during these matches is almost like a carnival. The two sets of noisy fans revel in bantering each other. Close encounters have been a regular feature of this rivalry, often going down to the wire. Bengaluru’s stoppage-time winner in 2016 to end Kerala’s unbeaten streak exemplified the never-say-die spirit of these contests.
The Southern Derby – Chennaiyin FC vs FC Goa
Chennaiyin FC versus FC Goa is an intense clash between the two successful ISL clubs. Chennaiyin’s triumph over Goa in the 2015 final made this an instantly bitter rivalry. Matches since then have been incredibly competitive, filled with goals, red cards and edge of the seat drama. FC Goa’s astonishing 5-2 win in 2018 after being 2-0 down showed everything this rivalry has to offer. Both sets of fans wait eagerly for these adrenaline-charged Southern Derbies every season.
The Battle of Northeast Rivals – Northeast United FC vs ATK Mohun Bagan
The rivalry between Northeast United FC and ATK Mohun Bagan has grown in recent years as the two clubs have contested some close encounters. Representing different regions, both teams play with great passion when they face each other. The matches are intense and physical, with crunching tackles and some flare-ups not uncommon. The fans create a boisterous atmosphere, with those from Guwahati and Kolkata travelling in good numbers for away games. Northeast United’s come from behind 2-1 win over ATK Mohun Bagan in 2020 was a thriller for the neutrals. This NorthEast rivalry is certain to grow bigger as both clubs aim higher.
The Southern Steel Derby – Hyderabad FC vs Odisha FC
A fresh rivalry that has gained traction is the clash between Hyderabad FC and Odisha FC. With both clubs coming into the ISL in 2019, this contest has seen keenly fought matches. As the two clubs from South and East zones, regional pride is at stake along with crucial points. Some young Indian talents have showcased their skills in these matches. Hyderabad FC’s 5-1 drubbing of Odisha in 2020 showed their dominance. But Odisha FC pulled off an upset 2-1 win in the return leg indicating the unpredictability of this budding Southern rivalry.
The Maha-Goa Rivalry – FC Goa vs ATK Mohun Bagan
An intense clash between two of ISL’s most successful clubs, FC Goa and ATK Mohun Bagan have developed a competitive rivalry over the years. Their distinctly different playing styles, Goa’s possession football versus ATKMB’s counter-attacking approach, makes for an intriguing battle. Some high-scoring thrillers have taken place with both sides going all out for victory. FC Goa’s 5-2 demolition of ATK in 2020 was payback for the latter knocking them out of the play-offs last season. With footballing philosophies at loggerheads, these contests promise plenty of goals and drama.
As Indian football continues to advance, more world-class rivalries will emerge. But the aforementioned rivalries have laid the foundation and are integral to Indian football culture. The passion and electricity will only grow as the sport thrives in India.