Kerala lad Denson Devadas struck twice as Bengal made a spectacular comeback to beat Punjab 2-1, ending their 11 years title drought in the 64th National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy in Kolkata on Sunday.
Punjab drew first blood with Balwant Singh finding the net at the 30th minute but Denson scored just at the stroke of the break (45+2nd) to draw parity and then sealed the match with a winner in the 78th minute.
Now champions for a record 30 times, Bengal thus denied eight time winners Punjab their third title in four years at the floodlilt Yuba Bharati Krirangan here.
Hungry to end their 11-year title drought, Bengal began on an attacking note but their striking force missing the injured duo of Shankar Oraon and Nilendra Dewan let the team down early into the start.
Bengal centred their attack through Robin Singh from the left but the robust Noida lad was heavily guarded by the Punjab defenders duo of Harpreet Singh and Rahul Kumar.
Cheered on by a 15,000-plus home support, the hosts had their best chance in the 18th minute but only to be proved unlucky with lacklustre Tariff Ahmed at the receiving end.
Robin in a left-side attack set it up nicely for a surging Tarif whose banging header missed the net by a whisker as it came off the post, much to the agony of Bengal supporters in a 18th minute move.
Soon, Punjab stepped on the attack with Bengal's chinks in the defensive armour beginning to expose and their forward lacking steam.
A goalkeeping error by Bengal's Abhra Mondal, who was hero in their semifinal win over Goa, helped Punjab take a 30th minute lead.