By Soubhik Ray
After their humiliation at the Federation Cup final last month, East Bengal had their share of revenge on Tuesday. The Kolkata club clinched a thrilling 9-8 win on penalties to become the first Indian club to secure the coveted AIFF Super Cup for the third time.
Salgaocar had their chances however, Tomba Singh and Francis Fernandez set up a chance for striker Chidi Edeh, but the Nigerian import shot wide. In the second half, tired legs and some unnecessary tackling led to Salgaocar seeing a flurry of yellow cards. Somethnig Bencherifa realises cost his side dearly.
"It is natural for the players to maintain some aggression in the game," he said.
"I wouldn't blame the players for the cards, it’s part and parcel of the game. Our players are adapted to an aggressive style of play. And we were unlucky today to have seen so many yellow cards.
"We missed our chances and in the end we lost to a good and determined team," Bencherifa added.
Meanwhile, East Bengal coach Trevor Morgan has hailed the contributions of foreign imports, Alan Gow and Penn Orji, with Gow, a former Glasgow Rangers star, being singled out for particular praise.
"He (Gow) has an excellent sense of speed and control over the ball that makes him a menace for the opposition's defenders."
Morgan also sang the praises of Indian ace Robin Singh, saying: "Robin is gifted with great speed and is a good judge of setting up chances at the midfield."
With the new I-League set to begin this weekend, Morgan also took time out to add his weight behind the belief that football in India is well and truly on the up.
"In India, audiences do follow the games in Premier League, La Liga and Serie A, but one shouldn't compare our style of play to those in Europe," he said.
"It is a great sense of pride to be coaching a team like East Bengal. And the passionate fans urge us in performing better."