NATIONAL FOOTBALL: Royal Bengal rule again – Devadas scores two as hosts win santosh Trophy after 11 years – now if they only knew how to promote it with raz-ma-taaz like in cricket, need another Narendra Modi ?!!
FROM THE TELGRAPH STAFF REPORTER
Calcutta: And you thought that a Devadas would ever only be the tragic hero. Well, that might be true in novels and on celluloid but, at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday, a certain Denson Devadas ended a wait that seemed to be turning into an eternal one.
Two brilliant goals and the Santosh Trophy was back in the cradle of Indian football as Bengal won their 30th National Championship with a 2-1 defeat of Punjab in the final.
Funnily, IFA was to have taken disciplinary action against Devadas who had kissed referee Minangshu Bhattacharjee after being red-carded in a CFL match against Mohun Bagan.
You would have agreed that strange indeed are the ways of life had you seen IFA secretary Utpal Ganguli hugging the Chirag United captain after the match.
The Punjab players understood one thing on Sunday. Home rules apply firmly when the tournament is held in Bengal. Dare to beat Bengal in their own den? Don’t even think about it.
It didn’t happen in eight editions and Snehasish Chakraborty and company showed that there would not be any change in the script. So a ninth title at home.
Forget whether this triumph will benefit Bengal football. It’s champagne time today. Battered and bruised by Goa at the club level, this win was necessary for the Souviks, Azims, Arnabs to believe that they have the ability to stand up to their rivals in the top level.
This also means a new lease of life for coach Shabbir Ali.
Incidentally, when Bengal won their last championship in 1999, whipping Goa, Shabbir had been in the opposition dug out. Definitely a victory he will savour for a long time as he had only 15 fit players to choose from.
On the day, Bengal once more conceded the early goal with their defence in tatters once again. It was Punjab right back Rahul Kumar who floated the ball into the Bengal box.
Semi-final hero Abhra Mondal showed poor anticipation, failing to gauge the flight of the ball as in-form striker Balwant Singh met the delivery with his head. With both stoppers caught out of position, Balwant’s header went in.
Shabbir Ali’s fascination with the below par Tarif Ahmed spelt doom for Bengal. Save a header from a Robin Singh cross that hit the vertical, the ONGC striker looked totally out of sync. Sanity though prevailed in the 36th minute with the introduction of Souvik Chakraborty.
The hosts certainly looked a better unit once Souvik came on. Robin’s problem has been his turning. Often trying those half turns, the Delhi lad has a penchant for wasting a lot of time, which cost his team going upfront.
However, the equaliser came in the second minute of first half stoppage time. Skipper Snehasish floated one of his trademark in-swinging crosses and Denson nicely evaded his marker to head home.
If Denson was the star of the day, doff your hats to senior pro Jayanta Sen who tirelessly controlled the game in the midfield.
Whether it be falling back to help the defence or keeping mobility in wing play, the veteran midfielder was the silent hero on a Super Sunday.
The second half saw a much better Bengal with Snehasish repeatedly making forays down the left and Devadas joining Souvik in the 18-yard box.
If the first goal was impressive, Devadas’s second goal was mindblowing. Playing a one-two with Robin, Devadas took a snap left footer that rammed into the net, much to the horror of Paramjit Singh.
There was minimum effort in the shot but the punch it packed will be remembered by the 15,000 odd spectators for a long time to come.
Raise a toast to the new Dev D of Bengal football.
Bengal: Abhra Mondal, Rajib Ghosh, Sheikh Azim, Arnab Mondal, R. Dhanrajan, Snehasish Chakraborty, Jayanta Sen, Denson Devadas, Gauranga Dutta (Safar Sardar, 90+1’), Tarif Ahmed (Souvik Chakraborty, 36’), Robin Singh
Punjab: Paramjit Singh, Ravinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, Harpreet Singh, Maninder Singh, Rahul Kumar, Balwant Singh, Balraj Singh (Rohit Kumar), Gurwinder Singh (Parveen Kumar, 46’), Amandeep Singh, Randeep Singh
Referee: Pratap Singh
Santosh Trophy: Denson Devadas Powers West Bengal To Win Their 30th Santosh Trophy Title – the home turf advantage ?!!
Bengal are the champions…
By Rahul Bali
Riding on a brace by Denson Devadas, West Bengal came back to win the 64th Santosh Trophy after trailing 1-0 down with Balwant Singh giving the lead to Punjab. The eastern state has won the tournament for a record 30th time and after a gap of 11 years and deservedly so.
Shabbir Ali guided Bengal to their first triumph in the new decade as Jaagir Singh couldn’t see his dream of winning three Santosh Trophies actualize.
West Bengal started with a 4-4-2 formation with Tarif Ahmed partnering Robin Singh in attack while Punjab opted for Randeep Singh in place of the suspended Gurpreet Singh.
The match started with Bengal looking hungrier of the two sides as they made attacking forays and enjoyed decent possession to trouble Punjab.
Robin Singh continues his good form as he brilliantly found Tarif Ahmed in good space but the ONGC striker took a touch too many to allow Harpreet Singh to get the ball off him inside the opening ten minutes.
Around the 18th minute, Robin Singh was in the thick of things as he brushed aside Harpreet Singh to cross for Tarif Ahmed whose header came off the sidebar.
The midfield duo of Jayanta Sen and Denson Devadas showed their class as they stamped their authority on the play and never allowed Punjab to have any say in the middle of the park.
However, a mistake by Abhra Mondal and Rajiv Ghosh resulted in Balwant Singh scoring the opening goal of the match from a Rahul Kumar cross as the goalkeeper came off his line to miss the ball completely in the 30th minute.
Shabbir Ali immediately changed personnel as Souvik Chakraborty was brought in for Tarif Ahmed who looked rusty.
Following the goal, Punjab looked more confident than they were in the opening half hour with Amandeep Singh sending in a couple of good crosses.
It was in the injury time of the first half that Bengal found their equaliser through Denson Devadas as he headed in a corner from Snehashish Chakraborty as the Punjab defence went to sleep for a moment.
At the start of the second half, Jaagir Singh substituted Gurwinder Singh for Praveen Kumar in the central midfield. This proved to be one of the turning points of the game as thereafter, Bengal controlled the proceedings completely.
The entire Punjab side was behind the ball and in their own half with their only movement being towards their own goal. Snehashish Chakraborty was menacing down the left flank and constantly troubled Rahul Kumar with his pace.
Gauranga Dutta, who had a forgettable day for his side, put in a decent delivery after some good dribbling only to see Robin head it wide and the linesman raise his flag for offside in the 57th minute.
The same trend continued and it was thanks to Harpreet Singh that the scoreline remained the same as he cleared off the line with Arnab Mondal and Snehashish Chakraborty combining off the latter’s cornerkick before the final quarter.
The monotony of the second session was at last broken by a Denson Devadas screamer with Robin laying it up for him just outside the box with twelve minutes to go.
Punjab looked pale in contrast to Bengal and couldn’t come up with anything substantial despite some fresh legs being added in the form of Rohit Kumar and Warun Deep.
The scoreline remained the same and Shabbir Ali and his boys were the worthy winners of the Santosh Trophy dominating the game entirely.
Well done Bengal!
Bengal beat Panjab towin Santosh Trophy for record 30th time – eye on the National Team ?!!
By Amrit Singh
Kolkata, August 8th, 2010: Bengal defeated Punjab 2-1 to win the 64th Santosh Trophy national football championship after 11 years here Sunday. It was a record 30th win for Bengal.
Denson Devadas scored two goals for Bengal after Balwant Singh had given the lead to Punjab in the 30th minute.
The hosts came back, cheered by 15,000 fans at the Salt Lake Stadium, as Devadas struck twice (45+2nd, 78th minute) to romp home.
Bengal has never lost a Santosh Trophy at home.
Eight-time winners Punjab fell short of winning their third title in four years.
Bengal dominated from the start, but it was Punjab who took the lead against the run of play as Balwant headed home a Rahul Kumar cross from the right.
Devadas then levelled, scoring in the second minute of the added time with a sharp header off a Snehashis Chakraborty corner.
Bengal dictated the course of play in the second half as Snehashis made incisive moves and Devadas, Jayanta Sen and Dhanarajan manned the midfield. They combined well and came close to scoring, before Devadas struck a scorching left-footer from 25 yards to seal the issue.
‘This is a memorable day in my career. I want to savour the moment,’ said Devadas, who was adjudged the Man of the Match.
‘The players and coach Sabbir Ali deserve all the credit the way the team played in the tournament. It was not easy to play five matches in eight days,’ the Keralite added.
Ali praised the players for the fine victory.
‘Bengal players were left out from the national team probables list despite some of them like Snehashis and Arnab Mondal doing consistently well in the I-League. Hopefully, their performance will not go unnoticed after this victory,’ he said.