East Bengal rode on a Reisangmei Vashum goal in the second-half to beat arch-rivals Mohun Bagan 1-0 and defend the 32nd Federation Cup title at floodlit Barabati Stadium here today. The former Churchill Brothers medio scored the all-important goal in the 55th minute from a long ball off Mehtab Hossain.
Robin Singh chested it down for Vashum to score the match-winner as East Bengal won their seventh Federation Cup title. In the final minutes, East Bengal successfully held off the Mohun Bagan challenge to keep the scoreline intact and thus managed to defend their title that ensured them a place in the AFC Cup next year.
East Bengal thus became the second team after Mohammedan Sporting to win back to back Federation Cup titles. The red-and-gold brigade had won the same title in Guwahati in the last edition by beating Lajong FC earlier this year.
Mohun Bagan had their share of chances as two goals from Asim Biswas and Muritala Ali were disallowed for foul and offside respectively. In fact, Mohun Bagan began the match aggressively with their forward duo of Subair Muritala Ali and Jose Barreto combining well.
But, Trevor Morgan-coached East Bengal did well to hold the striking duo of the green-and-maroon brigade. Muritala Ali came close to scoring in the seventh minute after he was set up by Okwe Diamondstar but Sandip Nandy did well to hold on.
Mohun Bagan missed a free-kick when Snehashish Chakraborty”s shot missed the target by inches. Muritala Ali did equalise but his shot was ruled offside. Mohun Bagan”s title hope went up in smoke in the 82nd minute when Muritala was given the marching order for fouling Uga Okpara minutes after a rough challenge on Saumik Dey.