Myanmar's Finance and Revenue Football Club (FRFC) dazzled in their maiden appearance on Indian soil, scripting a convincing 3-1 win over local outfit Mohammedan Sporting to move into the final of the 110th IFA Shield football tournament in Kolkata on Thursday.
Packing speed and punch in their moves, the visitors went ahead in the first half through Aung Kyaw Moe, and dominated the proceedings post breather as substitute Kyaw Thu Ra and skipper Myo Hlaing Win found the target in the semi-final exchange at the slushy Salt Lake stadium turf.
Naushad Moosa converted a penalty to net the only goal for the losers, who were hamstrung by an inept midfield display and the incapability of their defenders to contain the fleet-footed Myanmar raiders in the floodlit match.
The locals escaped more humiliation, thanks to an outstanding display from their young goalkeeper Chinmoy Banerjee, who saved his team on several occasions.
The Myanmar club will now take on the winner of tomorrow's second semi-final between arch-rivals East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.
The final will be played on October 9.
FRFC shot into the lead in the 35th minute following a fast counter-attack, which saw Moe and Lwin Oo play wall before the former banged home from the top of the box. The ball went in eluding a diving effort by Banerjee.
The tourists could have double their lead in the first half itself, as they launched several promising moves, but lack of finishing and Banerjee's sterling display kept the scoreline 1-0 at the break.
Sporting also got a couple of chances, but Henry Chukukera shot straight to FRFC goalkeeper Aung Aung Oo, while Amjad Hossain's solo ended in a feeble shot.
The locals tried to seize the upper hand early in the second session. Medio Abdul Rauf Khan moved fast down the left flank essaying a low, deep centre, which went begging with none of the Sporting upfronters managing to reach.
However, the Myanmarese regained control soon. Substitute Thu Ra put the ball in after Aung Moe's shot came off a defender following a centre from the left in the 71st minute, as the Sporting defenders were slow in reacting.
But the city team raised hopes of a fightback by reducing the margin three minutes later. A dangerous looking Festus was brought down by Min Min Aung resulting in a spot kick, and Moosa's power-packed right footer went to the corner of the net, leaving Aung Aung Oo stranded at the other post.
The goal inspired Sporting to go all out, but the visitors rose up to the challenge to strike an insurance goal in the 80th minute from another penalty, after Abdul Waheed fouled Tun Tun Win.
Hlaing had little difficulty in finding the mark from the easiest of setpieces to score his fourth goal of the tournament.