Norde and Yusa assists help seal final spot
Bengaluru FC and Mohun Bagan will lock horns in the final of the 2017 Hero Federation Cup after winning their semi-final encounters against Aizawl FC and East Bengal respectively. Sunday’s semis at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack saw Bengaluru edge past Aizawl FC 1-0, while defending champions Mohun Bagan beat their arch-rivals East Bengal 2-0.
The first match of the day between Bengaluru and Aizawl was a close game settled by a solitary goal. Bengaluru scored the only goal of the game as early as the 8th minute after the northeast-outfit conceded a penalty for a foul on former FC Goa midfielder Alwyn George in the box.
Cameron Watson converted the penalty with a clinical finish to the right as Bengaluru defended resolutely for the rest of the game to deny Aizawl an equaliser and make their second Fed Cup final appearance in three years.
Mohun Bagan, meanwhile, had the tricky proposition of overcoming local-rivals East Bengal. After a quick start to the game that saw both sides create good chances and play some delightful football, the Mariners took the lead in the 35th minute thanks to Darryl Duffy. The Scotsman got his head to a pin-point Sony Norde (Mumbai City FC) cross from the left and guided it into the far corner.
The Red and Gold Brigade pushed hard in search of an equaliser before Balwant Singh made it 2-0 for Mohun Bagan and put the result beyond all dispute six minutes from full-time. Sehnaj Singh (Mumbai City FC) released Katsumi Yusa (NorthEast United FC) down the right. The Japanese playmaker then ran to the byline before crossing for Balwant, who executed a stunning scissors-kick to book the Mariners’ second consecutive final appearance in the tournament. They will be looking for a successful title defence when they face Bengaluru on May 21.