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Mahindra United win IFA Shield
December 15, 2006 22:38 IST
Mahindra United backed up an early strike by defending dourly to stave off a relentless Mohun Bagan assault and win their maiden IFA Shield title with a 1-0 win in a well-contested final in Kolkata on Friday.
The nippy Manjit Singh, the chief tormentor of the Bagan rearguard, fired the sole goal in the 13th minute of the floodlit match at the Salt Lake stadium.
Bagan had the bulk of ball possession and were all over their opponents in the second half but the woodwork twice stood in their way while some close misses also ensured a happy ending for the Mumbai outfit in the 112th edition of the tournament.
Mahindra's productive move was initiated by Manjit himself who passed on to Yusuf Yakubu inside the rival box. The Ghanaian avoided a Bagan defender and redirected the ball to an onrushing Manjit, who slammed home a grounder to the right of custodian Sangram Mukherjee.
Stung by the reverse, Bagan upped the ante, but came up against a solid Mahindra defence that soaked in the pressure.
Bagan seemed desperate for the equaliser from the second half kick off as the waves of attacks became a deluge and in the 53rd minute Jose Barreto's stinging grounder hit the post.
Mahindra had another close shave late in the session when Dharamjit Singh's shot was punched by their custodian Sandip Nandy and Lal Ram Puiya's shot on the rebound hit the upright.