Dempo, Bagan set up final date
Kolkata, Dec 18 (IANS) Dempo Sports Club, Goa, and city giants Mohun Bagan carved out contrasting wins to enter the final of the 30th Federation Cup football tourney here Thursday.
The final would be played Sunday.
Dempo struck once in each half to convincingly get past Churchill Brothers 2-0 before Mohun Bagan pipped arch-rivals East Bengal 5-3 via tie-breaker in semi final outings at the largely attended Salt Lake stadium.
The second semi-final saw a nail-biting contest as the two star-studded teams played an attacking, absorbing game, which was lapped up by over 80,000 spectators at the gallery.
The match - dubbed the Kolkata derby clash - rolled into the tie-break after the two sides finished 1-1 at the regulation time and half an hour of extra time also failed to break the deadlock.
In the tie-break, Sunil Chettri's failure to convert the third spot kick brought the curtain down on East Bengal's campaign, as Bagan netted each of their penalties.
Jose Barreto, Marcos Pereira, Lal Kamal Bhowmick, Lalam Puiya and James Singh scored in the tie-break for Bagan, while Pravin Kumar, Mehtab Hossain and Jayanta Sen succeeded for East Bengal. However, the losers did not have to take the fifth shot as James Singh's goal from his side's fifth penalty settled the issue.
Earlier, Sanju Pradhan put East Bengal in the lead before Barreto restored parity for Mohun Bagan.
In the first semi final, Dempo went ahead as early as the 13th minute with Ranty Martins scoring from a penalty, before Clifford Miranda got the insurance goal in the 57th minute.
The former champions got the penalty when Nigerian Ogba Kalu Nnana committed the handball within the dreaded zone. Ranty kept his cool to put the ball home.
The second goal came off a Joachim Abranches cross which was smartly headed in by Miranda.
Two Nigerian players passed out momentarily after a head-on collision as Dempo Sports Club and East Bengal/Mohun Bagan entered the final.
In the evening, the two Kolkata sides made repeated raids into each other's half, creating plenty of chances, but close misses and the intervention of the woodwork stood in their way.
East Bengal, who got more number of chances, suffered ultimately due to lack of finishing prowess and an exceptional performance from Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Sangram Mukherjee.
After the first half ended goalless, East Bengal went ahead in the 63rd minute following an Alvito de Cunha free kick. The set piece from the left inside slot deflected off Rakesh Masih's head and travelled to Sanju, who scored with a rasping right footer from just inside the box giving no chance to Bagan goalkeeper Sangram.
The East Bengal supporters in the gallery were almost in delirium, but their joy proved shortlived.
Within four minutes, Bagan equalised. A deep, measured free kick form Marcos Pereira saw Barreto displaying his genius. The onrushing Brazilian outpaced two East Bengal defenders and executed a spectacular drop head which entered the net.
Earlier in the match, East Bengal had a close shave when Marcos Pereira's freekick dropped before the goal and hit the post.
The woodwork again came to East Bengal's rescue in the 22nd minute. Ishfaq Ahmed's low header crashed against the post following a James Singh corner.
For East Bengal, the post became the villain in the second minute of extra time when Sunil Chettri's snap left footer hit the wood. The striker's shot on the rebound was saved by Sangram, who prevented his side's debacle on at least four occasions.
Towards the end, the rival players got into heated exchanges and pushed and jostled one another, and the referee had a tough time controlling proceedings.
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