Mohun Bagan have stormed into the final of the Federation Cup after a 2-0 victory over arch-rivals East Bengal at the Barabati stadium in Cuttack on Sunday. Strikes in either half from Darryl Duffy (35') and Balwant Singh (84') meant that Sanjoy Sen's side are faced with the prospect of a sixth meeting of the season with Bengaluru FC in the summit clash.
Sanjoy Sen opted to start the semifinal with Balwant Singh and Darryl Duffy up front while Anas Edathodika and Eduardo Ferreira marshalled the defesive forces. Katsumi Yusa and Sony Norde were deployed outwide.
For East Bengal, Subhasish Roy Chowdhury started in goal while Mohammad Rafique, Bikash Jairu and Wedson Anselme were lined up just behind striker Willis Plaza.
The game at breakneck fashion with early chances for both teams. But the best of them fell to Willis Plaza in the eighth minute when the Trinidadian failed to turn in a sumptuous cross from Rafique and the chance went begging.
Drawing confidence from that early start, The Red and Golds threatened the Bagan goal on multiple occassions with Jairu delivering very dangerous crosses from the wings.
Mohun Bagan saw a Sony Norde freekick bring about a flying save from Chowdhury not soon after and the Mariners started creeping back into the contest.
In the 35th minute came the opening goal against the run of play. It was Sony Norde who delivered a splendid ball in for Duffy to head it in off the ground as the East Bengal defence watched helplessly.
Mohun Bagan slowed the game down wisely after getting that goal as the first half ended with East Bengal behind. Again it was The Red and Golds who started the second half well and Willis Plaza saw his hot saved by Debjit from a very promising position and the rebound was cleared away.
Chances were still coming in though. Just past the hour mark, Mohammad Rafique blasted wide after a poor header from Anas fell to him with the goal at hs mercy, leaving him with his head in his hands.
East Bengal were squandering too many chances and slowly Mohun Bagan began to look more comfortable as the game went on. Even then, Debjit Majumder had to bring out his best again to prevent a header from Willis Plaza nestling in the back of the net with Subasish produced one at the other end from the ensuing corner.
With six minutes remaining in the game, Mohun Bagan produced the killer blow with Sehnaj playing in Yusa on the right. The Mariners' skipper reached the byline before lifting a cross into the box which was converted by a splendid scissor kick from Balwant Singh.
While the scoreline made it seem like Mohun Bagan had an easy game, East Bengal had only their own finishing to blame for that. Sanjoy Sen's team will now look forward for a chance to sign the season off with a silverware.