East Bengal clinches IFA Shield
Kolkata: East Bengal clinched a record 28th IFA Shield title with a 4-2 win against United Sports Club in the penalty shootout after both teams played out a goalless 120 minutes in the 116th edition of the tournament at the Yuba Bharati Krirangan.
Having fumbled in the AFC Cup, goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh played a stellar role under the bar with two fine saves in the shootout, enabling East Bengal clinch the issue.
In the premier tournament that lacked sheen with Goan heavyweights and local giants Mohun Bagan missing out, East Bengal made the most of it as they won the title for the first time in 10 years as their last Shield win had come in 2002-03 season.
East Bengal dominated the proceedings right from the start but poor finishing by Tolgay Ozbey and Robin Singh up front saw the team failed to get a goal in the regulation time.
The extra-time was no different as the red and gold brigade despite some fine chances missed out on a decisive goal for the ensuing tie-breaker after a 120 minutes stalemate.
However, it was a clinical effort in the shootout as East Bengal did not miss any with Ozbey, Khanthang Paite, Robin and Subodh Kumar settling the issue.
But the hero of the shootout was East Bengal goalkeeper Gurpreet who stood out under the bar, thwarting first two attempts of United by James Singh and Bello Rasaq, something that made East Bengal`s victory clearer.