Kalimpong, 23 Dec:
East Bengal downed Mohammedan Sporting Club 3-1 in the final match of the GTA Chairman's Gold Cup played here at Mela Ground today.
Neither team, playing in the iconic ground amidst thousands of people, was able to score in the regulation or even the 20 minutes of extra time. The goals came only in the tie-breaker.
GTA Chairman’s Gold Cup has brought the glory of football back to the hills, said many people who were walking towards Mela Ground to witness the finals.
The hills, especially Kalimpong, have been fanatic football lovers as is still evident from the Independence Day match every year.
Today, after the match, which ended around 5:30 PM, the GTA Chairman, Binoy Tamang, said that the match will stay in people’s memories for more than 30 years to come and more young footballers will now get motivated to take up football as a career.
“Such big matches being held here once in a while will definitely inspire and motivate the youth,” he reiterated.
“This tournament has been very successful and everyone had a role to play. I am thankful to all. And the plates in the Gold Cup are installed for 32 years which means that the game will go on,” he added.
The Gold Cup, which was displayed yesterday at Mela Ground, is 42 inches tall and has 112 grams of gold inlays and was made at a cost of Rs 6,21,000. The winning team will get to keep the trophy for three months.
The East Bengal coach, Ranjan Chaudhary, later said that to win in a tie-breaker was always their plan.
“Our strategy was 100 percent successful, we knew that we would lead in the tie-breaker. We blocked their (Mohammedan Sporting Club) key player, though they had senior players, our strategy did work. The match was very interesting and very competitive and we thank the organizers. Maybe we could even start an East Bengal football school to groom the young players here,” he said.
East Bengal goal keeper Mirhsad K was adjudged the best goal keeper while Vikas Saini of the same team won Man of the Match. Philip Adjah of Md Sporting emerged the highest goal scorer while Darjeeling United FC won the fairplay award.