Clash of the Titans

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Sucheta Das / Reuters

Fans of East Bengal in full battle cry

As the clouds burst, the crowds gather. It's an hour before the kick-off of Kolkata's biggest sporting event and the rain keeps pouring. The pitch at the cavernous Salt Lake Stadium is now little better than a mud pit, pockmarked by spreading pools of brackish water and streaks of brown slush. Were this a cricket match, officials would have canceled proceedings and sent fans home. But this is football in the most football-crazy city in India: over 100,000 boisterous Calcuttans fill the divided sides of the stadium, one half festooned in the maroon and green of Mohun Bagan, the...