Prayag United beat Botafogo, to meet East Bengal in fina
Kolkata: Substitute striker Keyne Vincent struck late in the extra time to carry Prayag United into the final of the 116th IFA Shield football championship on Wednesday, defeating Botafogo of Brazil and setting up a title clash with East Bengal on Friday.
After the regulation time of the second semifinal ended goalless, Botafogo went all out and created at least two opportunities which United custodian Avijit Mondal, who had a fantastic day under the bar, saved and was later adjudged man of the match.
When everybody was getting ready for a tie breaker, New Zealander Vincent, brought in place of Md Rafiq in the extra time to add more sting to the United attack, struck five minutes before the conclusion of the extra time.
Capitalising on a Yakubu pass, Vincent took a half turn to outsmart a Botafogo defender before shooting home with a left footer in the Yuba Bharati Krirangan here.
This was Prayag`s second entry into the final of the IFA Shield, the earlier being in 2005 when they lost to Bayern Munich from Germany 1-5.
Despite absence of regulars like Joshimar, Lalkamal Bhowmick and Arnab Mondal due to injury, Prayag matched their Brazilian rivals evenly and could have won the tie in the scheduled time if their front liners could cash in on the chances they got.
Botafogo, who had to play three matches in six days, maintained an edge over their rivals in the first half, they looked a little tired during the second period.
In the title clash, Prayag, who won the Durand Cup earlier this season, will take on East Bengal on Friday. East Bengal moved into the final after edging past Pailan Arrows 1-0 in the first semifinal on Tuesday.