East Bengal in IFA Shield final

Kolkata: Riding on a first half strike by Tolgey Ozbay, East Bengal scraped into the final of the IFA Shield football tournament for the 40th time with a 1-0 win over Pailan Arrows here Tuesday.

The winner came in the 21st minute of the game at the near-empty Salt Lake stadium.

Latching on to a lovely pass by Penn Orji from the midfield, Tolgey showed his sheer brilliance as he outwitted two arrow defenders with his instep and let loose a right footer into the far left corner of the net.

Tolgay, declared man of the match not only for the goal but also for spearheading the attack, was earlier uncertain for the match after an MRI scan Monday detected a groin injury.

Penn made up for the absence of the injured mid-fielder Mehtab Hossain by feeding the forwards well right through the game which saw East Bengal dominate the opening half, while exchanges were even in the later session.

East Bengal kept the defenders of the young Arrows busy in the initial moments by dishing out a delightful passing game and an organised display. They could have increased the lead in the 28th minute, but Robin Singh narrowly missed the target.

Penn and Tolgey also missed some opportunities.

Post breather, Arrows came up strongly, and gave East Bengal a tough time upfront. But they failed to create scoring chances.

In Friday`s final, East Bengal will face the winner of the second semi final to be played between Brazil`s Botafogo FR and United SC Wednesday.