At the expense of East Bengal and in front of a partisan Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Salgaocar cemented their place as India's best team by winning the Federation Cup the same year they won the I-League.
Tactically too, East Bengal may have goofed up on Thursday evening. In one year, they have failed to find a replacement for Mehtab Hossain but asking the in-form midfielder, struggling with a groin injury, to play with a heavy strapping on his leg was like committing suicide.
Hossain lasted all of four minutes and with Salgaocar up 2-0 in 20 minutes, it was always going to be a tall task. The defending champions did show a bit of spunk but Salgaocar's better conversion and Sandip Nandy's hara-kiri cost them the title.
East Bengal's woes took almost no time to begin. After just four minutes of play, Hossain, going for an aerial challenge, landed on his back and stayed prostrate. While Sanju Pradhan was being promptly summoned from the bench and a worried Trevor James Morgan waited to confirm Hossain's exit, Salgaocar struck. Junior Elijah arrowed the ball from the left, off a short free-kick, for Edeh Chidi who motored past Harmanjot Khabra to score off a low header.
Their misery didn't stop at that. More came in the form of a brilliant Francis Fernandes. Jaspal Parmar's through and Chidi's cheeky flick set Fernandes free on the right and the midfielder took off. A brilliant solo run saw an equally gratifying finish.
But Salgaocar's nervous defending brought back East Bengal into the game. In the 23rd minute, Pradhan sneaked the ball to Penn Orji but Luciano Sabrosa tugged at the Nigerian's shirt. A spot-kick was awarded and Gow made no mistake. Sueoka an easy goal in the 66th.