Margao: Champions East Bengal failed to end a fairytale season with aplomb, losing 0-2 to Salgaocar in their last National Football League match on Monday.
East Bengal had already assured the title with a win against Vasco in their last game in Calcutta against Vasco.
Needing a victory to finish second, Salgaocar dominated the game and scored through Man of the Match Jatin Singh Bist (21st minute) and Sunday Seah (54th).
The win left Salgaocar on 44 points from 22 matches, while East Bengal stayed on 49. The runner-up position also ensured an AFC Champions League spot for Salgaocar ahead of Vasco, who finished on 43.
The Salgaocar midfield played like a well-oiled machine with Bist and Tomba Singh dictating terms. With side-back Bello Rasaq often overlapping, East Bengal defence was under constant threat.
Douglas da Silva was given marching orders after being booked for the second time by Thai referee Mongkol Rungklay late in the second half.
Salgaocar took the lead in the 21st, Bist tapping home a Dharamjit Singh flag-kick from the right.
East Bengalís front line was not allowed to operate freely, but still they could have managed an equaliser midway through the first half. Dipankar Roy got a loose ball, but íkeeper Kalyan Chaubey came to the Goan teamís rescue.
Seah made it 2-0 when he freed himself of his marker Suley Musah and took a right-footer which deflected off M. Suresh into the net.
Former champions JCT finished fourth with a 3-1 win against Indian bank in Chennai. Substitute Chanrajit Kumar scored twice after I. M. Vijayan drew parity for the millmen. Earlier, Kasun Nadika Jayasuriya had given Indian Bank the lead.
JCT finished on 38 points while Indian Bank finished tenth on 20. The Punjab side also bagged the Fair Play trophy.
Ghanaian striker Yusif Yakubu scored three as Churchill Brothers whipped ITI 5-1 in their last game in Bangalore.
Yakubu became the NFL top-scorer with goals in the 16th, 20th and 81st minutes, which took his tally to 21.
His first goal was a product of a solo-effort while the second strike came off a Benjamin Ansah pass. After the break, Dipankar Chatterjee pulled one back for ITI, but Churchill sealed things in the second session with goals from Tiken Singh, Roque Barreto and Yakubu.
Vasco, edged out a fighting Mahindra United 2-1 in their last game in Mumbai. After a barren first half, Minino Fernandes opened Vascoís account following a Shanshy Raza flag- kick.
A minute later, Odartey Lawson made it 1-1 off a Khalid Jamil pass. With ten minutes to go, Riston Rodrigues sealed things for Vasco, who finished with 43 points. Mahindra had to be content with the eighth spot on 26.
40 lakh for champions
East Bengal collected Rs 40 lakh for their effort while Salgaocar were richer by Rs 20 lakhs. Vasco got Rs 16 lakh while Yakubu bagged Rs 50,000 for becoming the highest scorer. JCT, Churchill Brothers and Dempo got Rs 9, 5 and 3 lakh, respectively.