By Rajarshi Chakrabarty
Dudu Omagbemi turned the saviour for East Bengal as the striker’s 78th-minute strike gave East Bengal their ticket to the final of the Hero Super Cup 2018 beating FC Goa 1-0.
FC Goa was seriously incapacitated due to the suspension of 4 key players as Hugo Boumous, Brandon Fernandes, Sergio Juste and Bruno Pinheiro missed out due to suspensions.
East Bengal came all-out attacking and it was Mahmoud Al-Amna who missed the easiest chance of the half, failing to tap-in from six-yard box with the goalkeeper at his mercy.
Ferran Corominas did well wonderfully to make his way through brilliant individual skills into the East Bengal box, right into the stroke of half-time but could not keep his shot on target in his second attempt.
Back in the second half, both teams looked to create chances and opportunities went begging due to lack of quality in the final ball. Ferran Corominas was at the heart of the action as he dangerously lurked around East Bengal box and made some good penetrative run to stretch the backline.
Corominas came close to scoring in the 73rd minute when his thunderous freekick from just outside the box rattled the crossbar.
In a match of measured attacking approach and stubborn defending it was East Bengal who opened the scoring in the 78th minute through Dudu Omagbemi when the Nigerian poked his feet into Katsumi’s cross to give East Bengal 1-0 lead.
Dudu Omagmeni showed his importance in the team as the lone positive striker with his poaching instinct in a crucial game to open the scoring.
Any chance for an FC Goa comeback met with a serious blow when influential midfielder Edu Bedia needlessly clattered down Kromah on the 82nd minute and was given the marching orders by the referee.
FC Goa had two golden chances right at the trailing end of the game when Ferran Corominas lurking in the box tried to meet a beautiful cross but Eduardo’s intervention and clearance averted the danger but almost went back into his own net.
The second one saw Manvir Singh found himself in open space in the 92 minute after some indecisive defending from Gurwinder but the striker failed to keep his shot on the target as FC Goa’s chance for an equalizer seemed improbable.
As time ticked by East Bengal did just enough to see off the match and cruise into the final with a narrow 1-0 lead where a dominant Bengaluru FC awaits them in an enticing encounter between two familiar foes now coming off different leagues.