Cuttack: India international CK Vineeth showed his predatory skills with double strike in the extra time as Bengaluru FC beat Mohun Bagan 2-0 to win the 38th Federation Cup football tournament.
Bengaluru FC also booked their berth for next year AFC Cup by virtue of winning the blue riband tournament. For Mohun Bagan, it was a case of so-near yet so far finishing second best in both I-League and Federation Cup. Only couple of days back, Bagan had defeated a scond string Bengaluru FC but the southern outfit had the last laugh when it mattered most.
Call it irony, Vineeth produced a magical performance just days after Kerala’s state Audit department where he was employed decided to terminate his services for low attendance percentage despite knowing that he is professional footballer.
On the day, he was quiet for the better part of the match but did the needful in the 107th and 119th minute to seal the issue for Alberto Roca’s men.
He was lurking in the striking zone taking full advantage of a defensive lapse from Eduardo and Anas to slot it past Debjeet Majumdar. He sealed the deal a minute before the end of extra time to end it on a happy note for the ‘Blues’ who played without their star striker Sunil Chhetri and defender Cameron Watson. Roca introduced a squad which lined up in a 4-4-2 formation comprising Udanta Singh and Semilen Doungel up-top.
With Watson being suspended on account of having picked up two yellow cards, Salam Ranjan Singh was introduced in the defensive line of the Blues with Spaniard defender Juanan guarding on the left.
As for the Mariners, Sanjoy Sen too featured the team in the usual 4-4-2 shape with Katsumi Yusa leading the side from Kolkata. British striker Darryl Duffy and Balwant Singh took charge of the proceedings up-front whereas Indian international Jeje Lalpekhlua was placed on the bench.
The first half witnessed the Blues dominating the Kolkata heavyweights as Sandesh Jhingan was the man in limelight. Bengaluru kick started on a positive note as Eugeneson Lyngdoh guided Udanta Singh from the left which saw the latter trying to lob in a cross into the box defender Pritam Kotal did well to clear away the young winger’s danger.
Few minutes later, the Mariners attacked on the counter as Katsumi Yusa, Darryl Duffy and Balwant Singh tried to create some action from the right flank but Sandesh Jhingan, who was operating on the left on Sunday evening, blocked the effort.
The first chance of the tie came in the 20th minute when the Southern Eagles nearly registered the opening goal. It was Eugeneson Lyngdoh who had stepped up for a corner as he sent the ball inside the box for Udanta Singh. The 20-year-old put an acrobatic effort which saw him jump high to slot in a half volley but the ball hit Seminlen Doungel on the way in. Therefore, the attempt was flagged offside by the linesman.
Just two minutes later, the side from Bengaluru troubled the Maroon and Green Brigade again. Lenny Rodrigues squared it for Udanta Singh to flick the ball in but Debjit Majumder got a vital touch on the ball which rolled away the delivery for a corner as Mohun Bagan survived yet again.
Around the half-hour mark, Sandesh Jhingan delivered a breathtaking clearance. As Sony Norde took the corner for Mohun Bagan, the Haitian sent the ball inside the box which Eduardo Ferreira tried to head it in but the delivery banged at the bar.
Later, the ball reached Katsumi Yusa who sent the ball, from the left into the box yet again, but this time an alert Sandesh Jhingan pulled off a goal-line clearance, hereby relieving Amrinder Singh who had missed it.