KOLKATA: Mohun Bagan edge past SAIL Football Academy Burnpur 2-1 in the second semifinal of the 122nd U-19 IFA Shield on Tuesday to set up the final with arch rivals East Bengal.
Mohun Bagan began the game aggressively and after missing some half chances took the lead in the 22nd minute through Sourav Das. However, SAIL responded in the very next minute and equalized through Rahul Mondal. Nonetheless, Subha Ghosh’s 83rd-minute goal was enough to send Jo Paul Ancheri’s charges to their second consecutive final.
Both sides produced some sparkling football during the opening exchanges, although poor finishing often let them down.
Mohun Bagan had created a couple of close chances through Subha and Koushik Santra. While Koushik did well to get into spaces, the youngster lacked the killer finish in the rival box.
Having missed a host of chances, Mohun Bagan finally broke the deadlock midway through the half when Sourav headed home from a free-kick to put his team ahead.
However, SAIL responded immediately with Souvik Ghoshal setting up Rahul for the equalizer in the 23rd minute.
Meanwhile, Mohun Bagan continued to dominate and should have regained their lead soon after, but Koushik skied his effort over the bar.
Just before half-time, Souvik went close for SAIL, managing only to steer his effort wide of goal.
The match remained 1-1 at the break, with SAIL looking the better side after the restart.
However, despite all their dominance in the opening stages, they failed to create any real clear-cut opportunities.
Mohun Bagan, on the other hand, almost broke the deadlock in the 64th minute, when Asif Ali Molla rose highest to meet Sourav’s cross, but the defender’s header was comfortably saved by keeper Kisan Singh.
Koushik continued to be Mohun Bagan’s danger-man, and in the 72nd minute he laid the ball to Samar Kumir in the vital area, but for SAIL defender Sudip Acharjee’s timely clearance.
SAIL had a half chance in the 77th minute but Israfil Dewan’s fizzed cross was just too close to Mohun Bagan keeper Asanja Daimary.
However, when the match was looking destined for extra time Mohun Bagan found a moment of inspiration from Subha who slotted home from inside to send his team to the finale.