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Rediff.com  » Sports » East Bengal win fifth Federation Cup

East Bengal win fifth Federation Cup

September 15, 2007 21:40 IST

Brazilian Edmilson Marques scored twice to help East Bengal win their fifth Federation Cup by defeating Mahindra United 2-1 in the final in Ludhiana on Saturday.

Edmilson scored in the 34th and 45th minute, while Manjit Singh reduced the deficit for the jeepmen in the 46th.

Mahindra were not helped by the fact that Sunil Kumar, who missed the last match after seeing two yellow cards, saw two more in the game and left his team with 10 men for more than half of the game.

Edmilson had missed the semi-final victory over Mohun Bagan due to injury but his return gave the red and gold brigade the cutting edge which was the major difference between the sides.

Mahindra missed the energy of N P Pradeep and would be disappointed that Steven Dias, who returned after missing the semi-final due to two bookings, and Ajayan Nair did not shine as coach Derrick Pereira would have hoped.

The victory at the Guru Nanak Stadium was East Bengal's first triumph in the tournament after 1996 and ended their long title drought in national competitions.

It would be a special moment for coach Subrata Bhattacharjee, who had joined the club this season only after distinguishing himself both as player and coach for arch rivals East Bengal.

The game did not rise to any great heights to start with as the two sides sought to assess each other's strengths and weaknesses, thereby cancelling each other in the midfield.

There were precious few opportunities on goal and neither of the custodians were troubled in the first half hour.

A largely insipid first half came to life towards the end with three goals, two of them through penalties, and a red card in 12 minutes.

Edmilson was brought down inside the Mahindra penalty area by Sunil Kumar which prompted referee K Sankar to point to the dreaded spot. The Brazilian picked himself up and made no mistake, much to the joy of a small band of travelling East Bengal fans.

Sunil, who saw a yellow card for that incident, let his team down for a second time less than 10 minutes later when he hacked down Edmilson again which resulted in a second booking and sending off.

When the Brazilian doubled East Bengal's lead soon, it seemed to be all over for the team from Mumbai. Edmilson ran on to a beautiful through ball from the impressive Jayanta Sen and chipped it over an advancing Sandip Nandy.

However, Mahindra were given a life line just before half time when Mehrajuddin Wadoo tripped Congolese Minga Edson Dico inside the East Bengal box.

Local boy Manjit Singh hit the resultant penalty in to the roof of the net past Subrata Paul.

The second half was a keenly contested affair and it did not appear that Mahindra were hampered by the numerical disadvantage as they forced their opponents to defend for most of the time and wait for a counter attack.

The proceedings got heated on several occasions as both teams expressed displeasure at the referee's decisions.

Mahindra pushed more and more players forward and gaps began to appear in their defence. Nandy was called upon on more than one occasion to keep his team in the game.

On one such chance, Ashim Biswas got the ball at the edge of the box after a defensive mistake, but failed to hit the target.

A little later, Edmilson ran on to a through ball and shot wide from inside the box with only Nandy to beat.

In the closing stages, substitute Dipendu Biswas got behind the defence, but hesitated at the crucial moment to let the opportunity go.

At the other end, the East Bengal were rock solid and Majek Bolaji, M Suresh and Surkumar Singh having a splendid match. They also did not lose any opportunity to run the clock down in the final few minutes.

Mahindra had a golden chance at the fag end when substitute Surajit Bose found himself unmarked inside the box but could not direct a centre from the right goalwards.

For the winners, Syed Rahim Nabi and Alvito D'Cunha were full of energy while Paul was once again solid in goal.

Nigerian Andrews Pomeyie led the line for Mahindra and Sushant Mathew also did his best, but it was not going to be enough.

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