Salgaocar lift Federation Cup (Lead)

September 29th, 2011 - 11:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Sep 29 (IANS) Goa’s Salgaocar Sports Club broke a 14-year jinx to lift the Federation Cup with a 3-1 victory over city soccer giants East Bengal in the final at the Salt Lake Stadium here Thursday.

The in-form visitors, who conceded their first goal of the tournament Thursday, put the locals on the mat by establishing a quick 2-0 lead through Edeh Chidi and Francis Fernandes, even though East Bengal managed to reduce the margin when Allan Gow converted what seemed a controversial penalty decision.

However, the I-League champions put the issue beyond East Bengal with Ryuji Sueoka pushing home after a horrible goalkeeping blunder from Sandip Nandy.

Salgaocar, who won their fourth Fed Cup title - and the first since 1997 - looked the better team on view, displaying good cohesion, as East Bengal paid the price for missed chances, and some strategic faux pas of their coach Trevor James Morgan.

The Englishman fielded a visibly unfit Mehtab Hossain who had to be replaced within four minutes and then inexplicably substituted the bright Penn Orji in the second session. Besides, the defence faltered in challenging situations and forward Robin Singh missed a couple of rosy chances. And in the end, the red and gold brigade’s hopes of making a hat-trick of Fed Cup titles went up in smoke, disappointing the massive crowd.

On the other hand, Salgaocar coach Karim Bencharifa, being tipped for the national coach’s slot, tasted his second success in the tournament, having earlier guided Mohun Bagan to the summit.

Salgaocar drew first blood - a soft goal - as early as the fifth minute.

Junior Elija’s centre from the right, saw Edeh Chidi getting away almost unchallenged as he unleashed a low header, with Harmanjot Khabra making only a feeble attempt to dissuade him. The ball went in to the right of Nandi.

The lead was doubled 15 minutes later when Nandi managed to block Fernandes’ attempt, but the winger finished off the rebound.

East Bengal managed to narrow the margin in the 25th minute. Salagaocar’s Biswajit Saha tried to dispossess Orji inside the Goan team’s penalty box, and as the Nigerian fell, referee Santosh Singh pointed to the dreaded spot. Television action replays revealed the punishment was too harsh as there was little body contact between the two players.

Gow, however, made no mistake in scoring from the spot kick with a left foot grounder.

The goal enthused East Bengal as they attacked with more purpose earning a series of flag kicks.

At the other end, Nandi denied Fernandes while Chidi wasted a chance after good footwork.

Robin Singh missed a golden opportunity in the dying minutes of the opening session as he failed to reach a Naoba Singh cross.

Crossing over, Robin was once again guilty of muffing up a sitter. Sanju Pradhan set up the unmarked youngster, but he missed the easiest of headers from close.

The Japanese Sueoka finally made the scoreline 3-1 by tapping the ball in after Nandi failed to grip a Chidi cross.

Realising the ground slipping under their feet, the East Bengal forwards looked desperate, but the Salgaocar defence held firm, and as the final whistle was blown, the Goans became only the second team after Mohun Bagan to win the I-League and the Fed Cup in the same year.

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