Dudu finds redemption to take East Bengal into Super Cup final

East Bengal awaits the winner of the other semifinal between Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru.

Dudu Omagbemi is greeted by his East Bengal team-mates after he scored what proved to be the winning goal.   -  BISWARANJAN ROUT

East Bengal made the most of a defensive blunder from FC Goa to register a 1-0 win and book a place in the final of the inaugural Super Cup at the Kalinga Stadium on Monday.

Read: Last-four meeting renews Bagan-Bengaluru rivalry

Dudu, who missed a one-on-one earlier in the game, scored the crucial winner.

Despite being the target of racial abuse from his own fans in the last game, it was Dudu who took the side over the line. The Nigerian, however, ended pulling his hamstring while scoring the goal and had to be taken out of the field on a stretcher.

Goa, which started the game with five changes to its starting line-up owing to suspension, put up a spirited fight.

East Bengal came close to opening the scoring on five separate occasions in the first half but lost its shooting boots in front of the goal when it mattered. It also came across an inspired Laxmikant Kattimani at the goalpost.

But East Ben gal's first real chance came only in the 19th minute when Katsumi Yusa crossed in an inviting ball into the six-yard area but the onrushing Mohamed Al-Amnah failed to make the connect. 

Katsumi Yusa should have had East Bengal in front 10 minutes from half-time, twice.

His first attempt was blocked by Amey Ranawade after he was found by a cut-back from Laldanmawia Ralte. Seconds later, the Japanese midfielder was unmarked on the left-hand side of the goal, but his shot was straight at Kattimani. Yatsumi was left clutching at the grass.

Goa came out attacking in the second half, with Ferran Corominas — without his usual partners in the attack — coming close to putting his side in front. His free-kick in the 73rd minute managed to wrong-foot the goalkeeper but agonisingly for the team, the ball hit the post.

Five minutes later, Dudu profited from a misunderstanding between Kattimani and Mohamed Ali as he tapped in a Katsumi cross from the left. Edu Bedia received his marching orders immediately after a clumsy challenge. A frustrated Bedia kicked over a Super Cup cut-out on his way out.

Manvir Singh had a chance in added-time to level the scores but he blazed over from less than 10 yards out. With that, Goa’s fight came to an end.

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