Bengal emerged as the champions of the 2016/17 Santosh Trophy after they registered a 1-0 win over hosts Goa in the final at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim, Goa on Sunday evening.
After playing out a goalless ninety minutes, Manvir Singh (119') finally came good in the dying moments of extra time to douse the spirits of Goa and their voracious home crowd.
In what was a classic match-up for Indian football, the two footballing powerhouses of the nation faced each other for the eighth time in the final. Goa head coach Mateus Costa went in with an unchanged line-up from their semi-final win over Kerala.
Despite the packed stadium all in support for the hosts, Bengal were by far the dominant side in the first period. Bengal's Moirangthem Basanta Singh ran the opposition ragged and had appeared to have broken the deadlock near the half-hour mark but his goal was disallowed after referee Senthil Nathan booked him for an alleged handling of the ball.
Right on the stroke of half-time, Bishal Pradhan could have piled embarrassment on the hosts but he missed the open net after Peter Carvalho's wayward clearance from inside the box.
Goa came out for the second half with renewed gusto and Brian Mascarenhas missed the target from a free-kick by inches but Bengal clawed in gradually.
Both sets of players fell prey to fatigue as the humid conditions took a toll on the youngsters. Basanta Singh and Manvir Singh took advantage of the tired legs and both Bengal strikers launched numerous attacks on Goa.
'Keeper Bruno Colaco kept Goa in the hunt as he dived to parry off Basanta's shot seven minutes from regulation time. With the ninety minutes yielding a goalless result, the match had to be taken into extra time.
It was again Bengal who started brilliantly as Basanta's header hit woodwork off a deflection. At the fag end of the added 30 minutes and with penalty shootouts imminent, Manvir Singh popped up from the left to leave Goa flustered at the death.
Singh capped off a brilliant night with a delectable left-footed shot from Shaikhom Ronald Singh's ball which beat both defender Melvin Lobo and an outstretched Colaco to silence the home crowd.
A product of Mohammedan Sporting, Singh would have made his father proud after he won the Santosh Trophy himself with Punjab in the 1980s.
By virtue of winning the 71st edition, Bengal laid their hands on the trophy for a record 32nd time as Goa lost their eighth final to go with their five triumphs.