East Bengal finished runner-up in the I-League after a runaway 3-0 win over United SC in the final game at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Monday.
Thus, the team finished with 43 points from 24 games (won 12, drew seven and lost five). Interestingly, East Bengal has finished second on three occasions in the last four years. Last year, it ended third.
By finishing second behind champion Bengaluru FC, East Bengal could be allowed to compete in the AFC Cup play-offs next season if the Federation Cup is not held this year.
The cash-strapped United SC tried to put up a fight, but lacked enough motivation to win the game.
After a goalless first half, defender Abhishek Das opened the scoring in the 64th minute when he collected a pass from Chidi Edeh on the right and placed a low shot towards the United goal.
Churchill stepped up the pressure and was rewarded in the 83rd minute through Edeh. Controlling a lovely pass inside the penalty area, the Nigerian slotted home a right-footer into the far corner. Seminlen Doungel completed the rout in the 89th minute, deftly side-stepping the rival custodian to place the ball home.Sporting relegated
Meanwhile, Churchill Brothers’s 2-1 win over Salgaocar SC sealed Mohammedan Sporting’s fate. The Kolkata outfit was relegated after finishing bottom on 24 points. Churchill ended with 25.
The results: East Bengal 3 (Das 64, Chidi 83, Doungel 89) bt United SC 0.
At Vasco: Salgaocar FC 1 (Duffy 20) lost to Churchill Brothers SC 2 (Fernandes 6-og, Balwant 65).
At Pune: Pune FC 0 lost to Dempo SC 3 (Fakhruddin 20 & 25, Lalpekhlua 90).