Defending champions East Bengal Club have reached the final of the 33rd Federation Cup (India's version of the FA Cup). In the second semifinal they overcame nine men Prayag United SC to maintain their chance of a Fed Cup title hattrick.
Both teams looked tense in the first session with East Bengal missing Mehtab Hossain in midfield, while Prayag United tried to play more through counter-attacks. It was Prayag United who took a 17th minute lead when Malswam Tulunga inside the box chipped the ball into the middle with keeper Sandip Nandy totally missing the flight of the ball and young Snehashish Dutta is there to slot home past an East Bengal defender. East Bengal had their problems thereafter as the red-and-gold continued to have problems in creating chances with Tolgay Ozbey and Baljit Sahni often hanging in the air. But in the 37th minute midfielder Alan Gow is brought down by Bello Razaq in the box and the Scotsman himself equalises for the red-and-gold by sending Abhijit Mondal into the other corner. It ended one-all at the break.
Prayag United looked the better of the two teams after the break, but chances were rare at both ends. Around the 70th minute East Bengal were lucky with two referee occasions, first Nirmal Chetri as the last man brings down Josimar and only receives a yellow card, then a Prayag United player goes down in the penalty area with his team mates appealing for a penalty and Josimar is booked for decent. Then a few minutes later in the 76th minute a still agitated Josimar is send-off for a needless tackle on Soumik Dey and to make matters worse Deepak Mondal is also send off for a second bookable offence, also against Soumik in the 80th minute with Prayag United now down to nine men. East Bengal coach Trevor Morgan then brings in Khanthang Paite and only a minute later in the 82nd minute he would score a stunning winner for East Bengal after Penn Orji did the spadework and Baljit intelligent plays the ball back for Paite to blast in. The Men in Purple could have been down to eight men when Arnab Mondal did a red card challenge, but it was overlooked by the referee. Even with nine men Prayag United look for the equaliser as East Bengal is unable to hold on too long to the ball. Still they have a both chance to make it three when in the 95th minute when first Penn Orji and then Baljit both hit the woodwork, but it is soon over and East Bengal win 2-1 against a fighting Prayag United.
East Bengal Club now take on I-League winners Salgaocar SC in the final on Thursday, September 29 for the trophy of the 33rd Federation Cup and a place in next years AFC Cup. It will be a rematch of the 1997 finals which Salgaocar had won 2-1 at the Saltlake Stadium.
East Bengal Club 2-1 (1-1) Prayag United SC
Goals: 0-1 Snehashish Dutta (17'), 1-1 Alan Gow (38'), 2-1 Khanthang Paite (82')
EAST BENGAL CLUB
24-Sandip Nandy; 8-Thokchom Naoba Singh, 3-Nirmal Chetri, 4-Uga Okpara, 29-Soumik Dey (85' Robert Lalthlamuana); 12-Reisangmi Vashum (81' 11-Khanthang Paite), 7-Harmanjot Singh Khabra, 10-Alan Gow, 15-Sanju Pradhan [C]; 20-Tolgay Ozbey (66' Penn Ikechukwu Orji), 6-Baljit Singh Sahni
PRAYAG UNITED SC
1-Abhijit Mondal; 17-Deepak Kumar Mondal, 16-Arnab Mondal, 6-Bello Razaq, 18-Sukhen Dey; 28-Shylo Malswam Tulunga (83' 2-Chinta Chandrashekar Rao), 7-Denson Devadas (86' 9-Kayne Vincent), 8-Lal Kamal Bhowmick [C], 15-Snehashish Dutta (77' 12-Gouranga Biswas); 10-Josimar da Silva Martins, 30-Yakubu Yusif
Magho Singh (Manipur)