The first semi-final of the Hero Super Cup between Hero I-League side Kingfisher East Bengal and Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) outfit FC Goa ended with the Kolkata giants winning by a solitary goal at the Kalinga Stadium here on Monday.
Nigerian striker Dudu Omegbemi scored the winner in the 78th minute. East Bengal now await the winners of the second semi-final between arch-rivals Mohun Bagan and JSW Bengaluru FC which is to be played on Tuesday.
The first-half which ended goallessly. East Bengal had better chances with Syrian midfielder Mahmoud Al Amna missing the first real chance of the half in the 19th minute but he failed to tap in a cross from inside the box by teammate and Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa.
A minute later Dudu broke free from an Al Amna flicked header but with just the Goalkeeper and Hero of the Match Laxmikant Kattimani to beat, he hit straight at him.
Katsumi Yusa then missed two gilt-edged chances in the 33rd and 35th minutes. FC Goa also had a chance in added time but Ferran Corominas' hit the post from an acute angle after his solorun.
East Bengal continued to press hard for a goal in the second half and Dudu and Katsumi again missed at golden opportunities to score between them -- the Nigerian being the more profligate.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 78th minute when another quality cross from the left flank by Katsumi found Dudu who tapped in past Kattimani.
Meanwhile, FC Goa captain Eduardo Bedia was sent off in the second half after receiving his second yellow card of the match.
After defeating FC Goa by a solitary goal to reach the final of the inaugural edition of the Hero Super Cup, Kingfisher East Bengal coach Khalid Jamil admitted that he was a bit worried about his team not being able to "capitalise on the early chances in the match." "I was very worried about this match. FC Goa had five players suspended and I was very much hoping that we convert early. We had our chances but weren't able to put it in," he said. "But we won it and it's a nice feeling to make it to the final," he said.
Jamil, however, didn't go into making any predictions about his opponent in the final.
"I will not go into predictions about the second semi-final. We will be ready to face whoever wins it tomorrow," he smiled.
The coach also singled out goalscorer Dudu for making a substantial contribution in the match.
"I had mentioned that Dudu is a mature player. He is aware of his responsibilities. He worked hard and focussed on the task and eventually got his reward. I hope he will be ready for the final." Meanwhile, FC Goa Coach Derrick Pereira certified his "players combined well." "I think we did quite well to contain them. We played to win. East Bengal played with five foreign players and their Indian players are quality stuff. My players showed a lot of character and I am proud of them," he maintained.
FC Goa Goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani declared the Hero of the Match said: "It was a good match for us. But it's unfortunate we lost."UNI XC-BM
-- (UNI) -- C-1-1-DL0214-1330489.Xml