IFA Shield: East Bengal pip Mohun Bagan in shoot-out to reach final

Defending champions East Bengal showed amazing resilience on Sunday as they came back from behind to defeat arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in the penalty shoot-out to storm into the 117th IFA Shield final.

Locked 1-1 after the extra time, East Bengal thwarted Odafa Okolie’s attempt with a brilliant work by Gurpreet Singh before winning the penalty shoot-out 4-2 to set up the summit clash against United SC.

East Bengal will take on Prayag United SC on Wednesday in pursuit of their record 25 Shield titles.

The Trevor Morgan-coached side, who lead the table in the I-League as well as local league (CFL Premier Division) and are having a positive run in the AFC Cup, also took their unbeaten streak to 14 matches.

The third derby of the season, which was held under newly-installed floodlights at the YBK for the first time in 16 months, was full of drama, giving the 70,000-odd crowd full worth.

Mohun Bagan went up with a C S Sabeeth (46th) goal after a goalless first-half but in a stunning turnaround, East Bengal’s Aussie recruit Andrew Barisic took the match into extra time with a brilliant 88th minute strike.

The extra time failed to yield results as the match went into the ensuing tie-breaker.

Having snatched the vital equaliser through Barisic, East Bengal were full of  confidence to win 4-2 in the shootout as Mohun Bagan wilted under pressure.

Edeh Chidi started the proceedings for East Bengal in the shoot-out while goalkeeper Gurpreet  became Mohun Bagan’s nemesis denying Odafa’s penalty with a fine save.

Barisic continued his fine run converting his attempt, while misery compounded for Mohun Bagan as Nirmal Chhetri missed the net as East Bengal took a 2-0 lead in the shootout.

In the next set of shots, Mohun Bagan opened the account through Jewel Raja but East Bengal were on a roll with captain Sanju Pradhan making it 3-1.

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