Guwahati, May 29 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS) Another title awaits 30-time champions Bengal as they gear up to take on a spirited Manipur in the final of the 65th Santosh Trophy to be played at the Nehru Stadium, Guwahati on Monday.
An identical 1-0 win saw both the teams getting better of their opponents in the semifinals.
While Manipur left it late against Services only for Thoiba Singh to convert from the spot, Bengal proved to be good for Railways, who once again failed to live up to the expectations when it mattered.
Shabbir Ali boys have gained the right momentum before the final and it was evident against Railways as everyone played their role to perfection. Shabbir believes that his side are on the right track at the moment.
“There is no substitute to success. We need to get our act right. This is the final and we are here to win it,” he said.
“Manipur are a good side with a perfect mix of youth and experience and will be a tough nut to crack. But a final is all about temperament,” he continued.
Branco Cardozo and Budhiram Tudu, who scored the winner in the semifinal against Railways remain the key for Bengal.
Manipur on the other hand don’t boast about big names but have played some effective football all throughout. Ekendra Singh, the Manipur coach is aware of the challenge that lies in front of him but at the same time isn’t willing to jump the gun at the moment.
“We have gelled well as a team and I am proud of the boys. But this is the big battle. The boys need to focus,” he said.
Tikem Singh and Nilakumar Singh have been in sublime form for Manipur. “The players are in good rhythm. But this is a different ball game. Against Bengal, you can’t afford to make mistakes,” Ekendra added.
The kick-off is slated for 5:30 and the match will be telecast live on DD Sports.