Prayag United enter IFA Shield final after 2-1 win vs Deportivo Sapris
Kalyani, Mar 15 : Striker Momammed Rafique scored a goal and set up for the winner as Prayag United beat Costa Rican outfit Deportivo Saprissa 2-1 in extra time play and move into the final for second time in a row in the IFA Shield's first semifinal tie at Kalyani Municipal Stadium here today.
Willy centre forward booted home in the 26th minute following a flag kick effort, which was eqalised within a minute by Deportivo Saprissa's forward Jonathan as both the rivals locked 1-1 in the scheduled 90 minutes play.
In extra time play substitute Keyne Vincent, who was fielded by Dutch coach Eelco Schattorie in place of mercurial Ranti Martins in the 80th minute for home team, struck home in the 7th minute (97) to earn a berth for big spending Prayag in the 117th edition final.
The final match to be held at Salt Lake Stadium under flood light on March 20.
The second semifinal tie is scheduled between Kingfisher East Bengal and McDowell Mohun Bagan at Salt Lake on Sunday under floodlight.
Meanwhile, East Bengal, who arrived late on Thursday from Vietnam after playing AFC Cup their, had requested the Indian Football Federation (IFA) to postpone the Sunday derby due to fatigue of their players.
But IFA secretary Utpal Kumar Ganguly reacting to the suggestion said the Sunday's derby is on.
I-League's 5th place holder Prayag United had some good chances to increase their lead in both halves but Ranti Martins and Costa Rica's former world cup player Carlos Hernandez missed the opportunities. Carlos had better chance and shot wide from yards a left cross from Md Rafique, who was adjudged Man of Match.
Prayag deep defender Bello Rassaq was outstanding to keep fort intact after they conceded goal in the 27th minute following lapses in the defense. India
international Gourmangi Singh and former India star Dipak Mondal were need to be quicker in clearance in the final against either Mohun Bagan or East Bengal.
Referee Ajit Metei had flashed six yellow cards on Prayag players, which might affect their play in the final.
Deportivo Saprissa, who beat Mohun Bagan 1-0 in group league, comprised mostly youths and two former world cup players had impressed with their passing football but they also lacked converting the chances.