Luck, perseverance and two red cards in the span of four minutes helped defending champions East Bengal overcome United SC 2-1, in the Federation Cup semifinal here on Monday and make it to the final for the third time in a row.
After Scotsman Alan Gow brought them back into the match with a penalty conversion, Khan Thang Paite's rasping long-ranger, literally off his first touch after replacing Reisangmi Vashum two minutes ago, made it a rosy end for East Bengal, but there's no denying that luck favoured them as well.
Had it not been for Sandip Nandy's outstretched leg, Lalkamal Bhowmick could have put United SC in the lead with a grounder off Josimar Martins's pass in the very first minute.
Mehtab Hossain's absence forced East Bengal coach Trevor James Morgan to change his formation.
With no one as good as Hossain in being a defensive screen, the Englishman made Gow play behind Tolgay Ozbey and Baljit Sahni while Vashum, Sanju Pradhan and Harmanjot Khabra played behind Gow.