KALIMPONG: East Bengal clinched the title in the 2018 GTA Chairman’s Gold Cup beating Mohammedan Sporting Club 3-1 in a penalty shootout on Sunday at Mela Ground in Kalimpong. Defeat was perhaps a little harsh on Mohammedan SC, who had the better of the chances in the scoreless 120 minutes that preceded the shootout and twice hit the woodwork.
The first-half was an evenly matched contest with the teams were watchful not to press too many men forward and as a result there were not many chances to pounce upon.
However, as the game progressed Mohammedan SC gradually gained control and created game’s first scoring opportunity when Philip Adjah controlled a ball outside the box only to fire his volley wide in the 16th minute.
East Bengal, on the other hand, did show some excellent moves in patches but find it difficult to penetrate into the rival box thanks to some brilliant defending by Prosenjit Pal.
After pushing up for a long time, Mohammedan SC created the best chance of the first-half in the 34th minute. Prosenjit Chakraborty cut in from the right and with an intelligent ball sent Pankaj Moula clear on the left. Pankaj controlled the ball and tried to volley over the keeper but he was denied by a brilliant save from the rival custodian Mirshad K.
Thereafter, both sides battled hard in the midfield, but with the game turning physical there weren’t many chances as both sides went into the breather tied at goalless.
The second-half was played at much higher intensity than the first and both sides had some close chances with Mohammedan SC going extremely close twice in the opening fifteen minutes but was denied by poor finishing.
The Black Panthers had their chances through Adjah and Seiboi Haokip, while East Bengal went close through Lalchhanhima and Jhantu Prasad but neither could get the breakthrough.
A last minute effort from substitute Firoz Ali was denied by Mirshad and proved the final action of regulation time as the match headed into extra time. The teams could not be separated after extra-time forcing the contest to be decided on penalties where East Bengal proved to be better shooters and prevailed 3-1.