IFA Shield 2018: "The players believed that we would make a comeback and win the tie," says East Bengal captain Jhantu Prasad
East Bengal won their 29th IFA Shield after defeating arch-rivals Mohun Bagan 4-2 via a penalty shootout in the final at the Barasaat Stadium on Thursday evening. Youngster Jhantu Prasad led the Kolkata giants to their first IFA Sheild title in 6 years after trailing by a goal for quite some time in the second half.
After the first half was goalless, Mohun Bagan U-19 broke the deadlock in the 48th minute by a clinical strike from Sourav Ghosh. Following the goal, the green and maroon brigade played defensive tried to hold on to the lead, but East Bengal U-19 was pressing hard throughout in the second half.
The efforts finally paid in the 83rd minute as Deep Saha took advantage of the loose ball and scored the equaliser after Bagan’s goalkeeper slipped up. After 120 minutes of play, it was 1-1 and the penalties came to the rescue. East Bengal won comfortably 4-2 after Mohun Bagan failed to convert the first two spot kicks.
Although East Bengal was trailing for the majority of the second half, their skipper Jhantu Prasad and also the others were pretty confident that they are capable of making a comeback into the match. They exactly did that but had to wait till the tie-breaker to clinch the title.
“We were sure that we are going to score the equaliser and turn the tide in our favour. We were facing some problems due to the intense heat during the first half. Missing a few easy chances also made our tasks difficult,” said East Bengal’s captain Jhantu Prasad.
“Had no pressure when I took the penalty, I was confident,” said an overjoyed Jhantu, one of the best players in the tournament and a future star in Indian football. He took the first kick from the spot during the tie-breakers.
With the overwhelming display of the youngsters throughout the tournament, some of the boys will definitely look forward to making a debut in the senior team. With the Calcutta Football League around the corner, it will be the best opportunity for them to showcase their talent if they are summoned.