JAMALPUR (BIHAR): Defending champion Bengal downed Bihar 4-0 in the second semifinal of the National under-21 football tournament, for the Manindra Dutta Ray Trophy, at the Jamalpur Sports Association Stadium here on Tuesday.
Bengal swamped the host with a deluge of attacks and the margin of victory would have been bigger had its forwards been more sharp during the second session. With this win, Bengal reached its 13th final in 14 editions and will clash with Punjab on Thursday in a replay of the final at the same venue in 2004. Punjab had beaten Bengal 4-1 to clinch its maiden title then.
Bengal captain and striker Seikh Tarif Ahmed was the hero of the match, scoring three of the team’s four goals. The other one was scored by Bengal’s wing-half Buangpuia Ralte.
Bengal got into its stride immediately and launched an offensive straightaway. Tarif put the team ahead, providing the finishing touches to the attack initiated by left-back Avishek Aich and aided by Lalhmangaihzala.
Stung by the early reversal, Bihar coach Krishna Nand rushed out of the technical area and cried foul against the assistant referee Prabir Kumar Roy of Assam. Match commissioner D.S. Bisht and the local organisers rushed in to prevent the anger from pouring out into the stands.
Bengal widened the lead in the seventh minute, Tarif finding the net again with a spectacular volley. This time the cross came from right-back Mohan
Chakraborty, who along with Aich and Ratan Das, kept the flanks active. However, Tarif missed a hat-trick, shooting over from close in the 13th minute.
Bihar made its first decent effort through Shivbrat Gautam. The Bihar midfielder’s pile driver beat Bengal goalkeeper Bhaskar Adhikary, but the ball bounced off the crosspiece. Meanwhile, Ralte took the game further away from the host, scoring the third goal for Bengal in the 27th minute.
The second session did not witness any change in Bihar’s performance, while Bengal added another goal in the 55th minute. Tarif struck his third, as Lalhmangaihzala did the spadework to set the former up with a perfect through pass.