Fed Cup: Sporting’s loss is East Bengal’s gain

Churchill Bros take on East Bengal in the first semi-final on Sept 27, while it will be an all-Goan battle between defending champions Salgaocar and I-League winners Dempo in the second semis on Sept 28. The final is slated for September 30


SILIGURI: Last year’s runners-up East Bengal registered a thrilling 4-3 win over Kalighat Milan Sangha on Tuesday to set up a semi-final clash against Churchill Brothers in the 34th Federation Cup.

In a match full of drama at the Kanchenjungha Stadium, East Bengal trailed twice to be 0-2 and 2-3 down against the qualifiers, Kalighat MS, but Edeh Chidi and youngster Manandeep Singh rose to the occasion with a brace each.

Luck also favoured the red-and-gold brigade as Sporting Clube de Goa lost 1-2 to ONGC in another must-win match at the SSB ground to ensure East Bengal’s smooth passage to the semi-finals.

Playing without their star central defender Uga Okpara, East Bengal conceded early goals as James Giblee (11th) and Tanmoy Kundu scored in a space of five minutes.

East Bengal, however, kept attacking and got their first goal in the 22nd minute when Manandeep, scored from an Orji Penn cross.

Six minutes later, Manandeep was once again in his elements to bring on the 2-2 equaliser when he scored from a Chidi cross.

But their joy was short-lived as Nigerian Christopher Chizoba helped Kalighat restore the lead in the 40th minute.

There was more drama in store as East Bengal made it 3-3 at the interval after Chidi was fouled inside the KMS box.

The Nigerian converted the spot kick to add more spice as the match poised for an entertaining second-half.

In an action replay, Chidi was again fouled inside KMS box and the result was no different as he fired in the winner from the spot, for a superb East Bengal turnaround.

In the other group C match played concurrently at the SSB ground, Sporting Clube found the going tough against ONGC who scored through David Lalmuanpuia (17th) and Tariff Ahmed (89th) for a fine win. The Goan team scored their solitary goal through Dawson Fernandes (62nd).

East Bengal finished with seven points to top group C, while ONGC (six) and Sporting Clube (four) finished second and third respectively.

East Bengal will face Churchill in the first semi-final on September 27, while it will be an all-Goan battle between defending champions Salgaocar and I-League
winners Dempo in the second
last-four match on September
28. The final is slated for
September 30.

RESULTS: East Bengal 4 v Kalighat Milan Sangha 3, Sporting Clube 1 v ONGC 2