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News18 » Football
3-min read

Federation Cup: East Bengal through to the semis

With three victories in as many games, East Bengal won Group C.

test sharma | Goal.com

Updated:December 17, 2008, 12:55 AM IST
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Federation Cup: East Bengal through to the semis
With three victories in as many games, East Bengal won Group C.

New Delhi: It took a Sanju Pradhan winner in the 79th minute to get the better of Sporting Clube De Goa for East Bengal as they sealed their berth in the semi-finals of the 30th Federation Cup.

With three victories in as many games, East Bengal won the Group C with JCT coming second with six points. East Bengal shall now face the winner of Group D which shall be decided on Tuesday.

East Bengal made on change in their starting line-up as they brought in Poibiang Poshna with Renedy Singh sitting out. Poibiang filled in the right back slot while Syed Nabi was the left winger. Having already been ousted from the Federation Cup, Sporting Clube De Goa coach Vishwas Gaonkar have his second string side a chance to showcase their talent and hence made six changes to the first XI.

The lack of pressure on Sporting Clube De Goa worked as it was them to had the better chances in the first session. They impressed with their ball control and some good passes in the midfield.

East Bengal looked a shadow of themselves which did fairly better than in the last two games and had no clear shot on goal in the first 45 minutes.

A good build-up from the Goan side ended in Freiman’s cross from the right being hit wide from inside the box by Freddy Mascrenhas in the fourth minute. The East Bengal defence was caught off guard and Freddy missed a sitter.

The ninth minute saw Freiman’s floated ball dipping into the net and it was only thanks to the alertness of goalkeeper Abhra Mondal that East Bengal didn’t go behind.

The ball was being played in the midfield with the Red and Gold’s not being able to create much. Sanju Pradhan’s cross from the right saw Sunil’s header go wide.

The only commendable play for the Kolkata side was Syed Nabi’s brilliant shot from the edge of the box which missed the far post by not much.

There was a delayed start to the second session as there was a problem with the floodlights. The first chance went to East Bengal when Yusif Yakubu’s through ball saw both – Nabi and Sunil going for it with the former’s shot going wide.

The very next minute, East Bengal survived a scare when Steven Fernandes’ shot hit the post. Around the hour mark, a Micky Fernandes effort missed the target by not much.

This spurred East Bengal as they did attack with more purpose from then on. Nabi’s through ball to Yakubu saw the Ghanaian miss a sitter. A few minutes, later the two combined again with Nabi inside the box but Sporting custodian Gerard D’Mello did well to come out and narrow the angle.

Jayanta Sen initiated a fine counterattack and which ended in him losing the ball at the crucial juncture in the opposition’s box.

The long wait for East Bengal was finally over when Sanju Pradhan scored the winner after being released by Sunil.

East Bengal should have added another but Sunil Chhetri was the guilty party after beating the offside trap and hitting the ball straight to the custodian. Credit must be given to Yakubu who brilliant set-up the move.

Alvito D’Cunha came on as a substitute and almost scored off a Poibiang cross which he volleyed it wide.

Goalscorer East Bengal: Sanju Pradhan (79th min)

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