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|August 30, 2001||
Mohun Bagan win Federation Cup
Calcutta giants Mohun Bagan scored once in each half to defeat Dempo Sports Club, Goa, 2-0 in the final of the Federation Cup football championship, at the Nehru stadium in Madras, on Thursday.
Jose Barreto Ramires put Bagan ahead in the 13th minute and Abdullateef Seriki made it 2-0 in the 79th minute, in a match in which Dempo did everything but score.
The victory gave Bagan the title for the 11th time and a purse of Rs One million.
Dempo, who lost to East Bengal in their only previous entry to the final, at Calcutta, in 1996, had to rest content with the runners-up purse of Rs 600,000.
Dempo were indeed second time unlucky. And for that they have only themselves to blame. They made all the play but wasted chances galore and, in the end, drove home the point that it is goals that matter and not the number of chances a team misses.
For the first time in the 15-day competition, the Bagan defence was tested to the limits. The Goans, with their pleasing short-passing approach, exploited yawning gaps in midfield and repeatedly broke through. It was only a fine display by Bagan goalkeeper Bibash Ghosh that prevented them from scoring.
Bagan forged ahead in the 14th minute through a fine piece of opportunism from Brazilian striker Ramirez. Dempo defender Samir Naik failed to cut off a high ball from Debjit Ghosh and Ramires pounced on the chance and drove home on the half volley from the top of the box.
The goal did not deter the Goa team and they countinued to torment the Bagan defence. With clever promptings from their medios -- former international Mario Soares, Clifford Miranda and Jose Colaco -- their strikers Levy Coelho and Alesh Shamaki, who returned to the side after a one-match suspension, repeatedly broke through but found goalkeeper Ghosh a hard nut to crack. Thrice in the first session, he brought off fine saves to see Bagan cross over with their lead intact.
Five minutes after Bagan went into the lead, Dempo nearly got the equaliser but Lolendra Singh came up with a goalline save.
A neat cross from Mario Soares saw Levy Coelho deflect the ball goalwards. However, goalkeeper Ghosh fumbled with the collection and the ball traveled to Jose Colaco, whose shot was cleared on the goalline by Lokendra.
Soon after another chance went abegging as Ghosh blocked a curling free-kick from Soares.
As the pressure mounted, the Bagan citadel almost fell in the 35th minute as Jayanta Sen, substituting for an injured Renedy Singh, almost headed the ball into his own goal. Off a fine floater from Clifford Miranda from the left, Jayanta, in a desperate attempt to clear, headed the ball goalwards, but goalkeeper Ghosh did well to collect in the nick of time.
Five minutes later Ghosh came up with a good save off Jose Colaco's header.
After change of ends, Dempo continued to mesmerise the rival defence but Stanley Colaco made a mess of an open chance in the 49th minute and four minutes later Ghosh thwarted a good shot by Mario Soares.
But again, much against the run of play, came Bagan's second goal. In the 79th minute, Amauri sent a long ball from the back and James Singh, who played a stupendous role in defence, chested it and tapped to Seriki, who applied the finishing touches.
A couple of minutes earlier Clifford Miranda's floater from the left saw the ball hit the post.
Mail Sports Editor
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