Bengal won their 31st Santosh Trophy final defeating Manipur 2-1 on Monday evening. The 65th edition of the national football championship was played under floodlights at the Jawaharlal Stadium in Guwahati.
The Bengal team was leading 1-0 prior to the intermission.
Manipur, upbeat after having held Bengal 2-2 in an earlier league match, was eyeing their second Santosh Trophy after 2002. This was the Northeast state’s second final appearance.
But the more experienced Bengal side prevented Manipur from repeating history. The two teams had met each other in 2002 with Manipur coming up trumps.
“We were without our star players who were not released by the top clubs into I-League, but our boys did us proud,” said Bengal coach and former international Shabbir Ali.
Bengal had much of the possession in the first half, scoring within the first 20 minutes. They consolidated soon after the breather, but Manipur came back strongly to reduce the deficit by a goal and coming close to scoring at least two more.
“Our finishing has been poor in this tournament,” said Manipur coach S Ekendra Singh. “But full marks to Bengal for a good show.”