East Bengal became the first team since JCT in 1996 to retain the Federation Cup but Mohun Bagan could feel hard done by with two of three disallowed goals being scored by them. The title ensured East Bengal will again be India’s representative in the 2011 AFC Cup.
Reisangmi Vashum, the shy wide midfielder who lets his feet and speed do the talking, scored perhaps the most important goal of his career racing down the left-inside channel to blast home a left-footer after Robin Singh controlled a Mehtab Hossain 35-yard pass and played square.
From when Robin chested the pass to Vashum’s goal, the Mohun Bagan backline seemed to be on holiday. East Bengal also fluffed a penalty for the second match in succession at the Barabati Stadium and again it was Tolgay Ozbey who was responsible.
In the 20th minute, the gutsy Australian won the spot kick by going around Dhanarajan who then pulled him down. Ozbey went for the bottom left corner but his grounder grazed the outside of the upright and went out.
Given Mohun Bagan’s attacking potential, East Bengal looked to hit on the break. That almost backfired as Mohun Bagan came close to scoring early more than once but the ball didn’t fall kindly for Jose Barreto or Subair Murithala Ali. Sandio Nandy missed the flight of a sixth-minute Kingshuk Debnath free-kick but Barreto and Ali were both too close to the East Bengal goalie to exploit that.
The move that fetched the penalty was the best chance East Bengal got till they had a goal disallowed in the 42nd minute ostensibly because Ozbey had fouled Mohun Bagan central defender Sagram Mandi. If that was contentious, the one that Mohun Bagan were denied two minutes later was even more so. Ali had headed down for Ashim Biswas whose screamer from the edge of the penalty area beat Nandy. But referee Dinesh Nair adjudged Ali to be off-side.
As East Bengal let Penn Orji get into more attacking positions after the break, the chinks in Mohun Bagan’s defence started showing. Ekene Ikenewa missed a chance to put the game beyond Mohun Bagan who earlier were denied a second time when Ali was adjudged to be off-side while firing a 72nd minute back-volley into the net.
Again, he was deemed to be off-side.
Ali was sent off in the 88th minute for a second bookable offence this time for dissent.