Margao: A goal in the second half by Kishore Mallick helped East Bengal edge past a fighting JCT by a solitary goal and retain the under-19 National Football League title at the Duler Ground in Mapusa Monday.
After playing second fiddle to JCT in the first half, East Bengal scored the all-important goal in the 59th minute when Ashim Sarbajna’s pass found Mallick inside the box.
Mallick, who was playing in spite of a thigh strain, dribbled past JCT’s Kuldip Singh and scored past a diving goalkeeper Tarlochan Singh. Mallick couldn’t continue after that and had to be replaced.
Sarbajna was declared Man of the Match. Each player of the winning team was presented Adidas gift coupons worth Rs 1500. East Bengal will return to Calcutta Friday.
Playing an aggressive game, the Punjab team held the upper hand over their rivals in the first half, having the better of the exchanges, but were frustrated by the Calcutta outfit’s ’keeper Somnath who brought off a good save off Mandeep Kumar.
In the semi-final, East Bengal had beaten Dempo 2-0 on Saturday.