CK Vineeth's twin strikes (107', 119') late on saw Albert Roca and co. trump Mohun Bagan 2-0 in the Federation Cup final on Sunday at Cuttack. The game, which progressed into extra time, was an action-filled event which saw the Blues dominate the Mariners and eventually lay their hands on the silverware.
Going into this crucial game, Albert Roca opted for a 4-4-2 formation which comprised of Udanta Singh and Seminlen Doungel up-top. Salam Ranjan Singh was introduced into the defensive line of the Blues with Sandesh Jhingan deployed as the left-back. Influential midfielder Cameron Watson was suspended for this game.
As for the Mariners, Sanjoy Sen too had his team lineup in the usual 4-4-2 with Katsumi Yusa on the wings. Scottish striker Darryl Duffy and Balwant Singh took charge of the proceedings up-front whereas Indian international Jeje Lalpekhlua was placed on the bench.
The first half was edged by Bengaluru FC more or less with Mohun Bagan looking a bit rusty. The first chance of note was fashioned by Eugeneson Lyngdoh who played in Udanta Singh down the left. But his cross into the box was cleared expertly by defender Pritam Kotal.
Few minutes later, the Mariners attacked on the counter as Katsumi Yusa, Darryl Duffy and Balwant Singh schemed though the right flank but Sandesh Jhingan, who was operating on the left on Sunday evening, blocked the effort.
In the 20th minute, Bengaluru nearly registered the opening goal. Eugeneson Lyngdoh's corner found Udanta Singh inside the box and the 20-year-old's acrobatic effort hit Seminlen Doungel and was promptly flagged offside by the linesman.
Just two minutes later, Bengaluru troubled the Maroon and Green Brigade again. Lenny Rodrigues squared a pass for Udanta Singh to flick the ball in but Debjit Majumder got a vital touch which saw the ball roll away the delivery for a corner.
Around the half-hour mark, Sandesh Jhingan had to intervene to prevent Bagan from scoring. Sony Norde's corner was headed on to the bar by Eduardo Ferreira and the rebound reached Katsumi Yusa who diverted it goalwards. But, an alert Sandesh Jhingan pulled off a goal-line clearance to the relief of Amrinder Singh.
Despite Sanjoy Sen’s men enjoying more ball possession in the initial half of the clash it was Roca's team which looked the stronger contingent as the two teams entered the tunnel at the half-time whistle on a 0-0 score-line.
The second half was an action-packed series of football. Just four minutes past the half-time mark, Bengaluru FC found the net but the goal was disallowed. It was John Johnson who made a late run to head Eugeneson Lyngdoh's free-kick across goal. It was turned in by Juanan but the linesman, rather controversially, had his flag up for offside.
Minutes following this incident, Mohun Bagan threatened the Bengaluru goal. Balwant Singh's stunning shot at goal had Amrinder Singh dive to his right and push it away.
Three minutes away from the one hour mark, Udanta Singh stormed into the opposition box chipped the ball over Debjit majumder, who was off his line, but the youngster was unlucky to see his excellent effort go just wide.
Despite the amount of chances created, neither team could fashion a goal and the tie moved into extra time. Bengaluru FC finally atoned for their misses in the game with two goals in the second half of extra-time, from substitute CK Vineeth.
First, in the 107th minute, the Kerala-born attacker took a touch on the edge of the opposition box before seeing his goalbound shot deflected past Debjit by Anas Edathodika.
About eight minutes later, he doubled the lead and secured the championship for his side with a phenomenal break where he ran at the backtracking Bagan defence and unleashed a grounder from range that beat Debjiot's despairing dive and lodged in the back of the net.
The two goals were enough to crush Mohun Bagan’s hopes as the men in blue celebrated a Federation Cup victory.
In a tie where Bengaluru FC were considered the weaker contingent due to the absence of key players like Sunil Chhetri and Cameron Watson, the Blues proved everyone wrong by defeating the Kolkata giants and carving their name on the trophy.