East Bengal regained the Federation Cup after a season, outclassing Dempo SC 3-2 in the final here at the Kanchanjungha Stadium on Sunday.
The sides were locked 1-1 after regulation time.
The Kolkata giant, backed by home supporters, staved off a dogged resistance from Dempo in the extra-time.
The final 30 minutes witnessed three goals, with East Bengal managing to score twice. Dempo replied only once and had to be content being the runner-up once again as East Bengal lifted the title for the eighth time in 16 final appearances.
It was an apt birthday gift for the East Bengal’s English coach Trevor James Morgan, who helped the team gain its seventh trophy in his third season.
Egged on by a packed stadium, East Bengal started placidly but warmed up to a late charge to outsmart Dempo in a battle of attrition.
After a barren first half, Dempo found the lead through Climax Lawrence in the 50th minute but East Bengal responded within 10 minutes when defender Arnab Mondal nodded home a measured corner that was helped along by Nigerian striker Edeh Chidi.
East Bengal, which appeared to slog for the greater part of the action, enlivened the proceedings in the extra time.
Lalrindika Ralte, who fetched the lone goal in the 110th minute against Churchill Brothers in the semifinals, recreated the magic in the ‘death’.
The nippy midfielder, who was introduced again in the 91st minute, hit a powerful grounder in the 99th minute. The ball was stopped by the diving Dempo custodian Subhasish Roy Chowdhury but it went straight to Manandeep Singh who stabbed it in to make it 2-1 for East Bengal in the 99th minute.
The home side sustained the pressure, making repeated forays into the Dempo territory and forced the Goa giant to give in to the pressure.
Manandeep released a long diagonal floater from his own half, which was neatly gathered by Chidi. The Nigerian covered a few yards before firing in a rasping grounder in the 109th minute (3-1).
Dempo reduced the margin off defender Mahesh Gawli, who nodded home a flag-kick in the 113th minute.
East Bengal regrouped its defence and preserved the scoreline.
East Bengal 3 (Arnab Mondal 60, Manandeep Singh 99, Edeh Chidi 109) bt Dempo SC 2 (Climax Lawrence 50, Mahesh Gawli 113).
Keywords: Federation Cup