East Bengal in semifinal of Federation Cup
Kolkata: Defending champions East Bengal booked their semifinal berth after a scrappy 1-0 victory over Dempo in their group C fixture of the 33rd Federation Cup.
On a rain-soaked evening, East Bengal had mispasses galore and poor finishing in the opening session but made amends after the break with Robin Singh scoring the match-winner in the 68th minute at the floodlit Yuba Bharati Krirangan.
The Kolkata giants were, however, lucky to have won the match as the referee Pratap Singh overlooked a clear penalty in favour of Dempo.
Australian recruit Tolgay Ozbey, who had set up the match-winner for East Bengal, handled the ball inside the box in the first minute of the injury time and it was clear penalty but Pratap chose to overlook it.
The match saw instances of poor refereeing on several occasions.
The win meant East Bengal finished with seven points to top group C, reducing the next match between Pune FC and Mohammedan Sporting an inconsequential affair.
Former I-League champions Dempo ended their Federation Cup campaign with three points from their solitary win against qualifiers Mohammedan Sporting.
The star-studded Dempo, boasting seven from the national squad -- Subhashish Roy Chowdhury, Debabrata Roy, Climax Lawrence, Anthony Pereira, Clifford Miranda, Sameer Naik and Mahesh Gawli -- were a shadow of their former self as they never looked to threaten the seven time winners East Bengal.
The local giants, cheered on by the home crowd, had an erratic first-half with Tolgay, Reishengmei Vashum missing chances.