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Mohun Bagana��s record in All India tournaments has always been exemplary. The club shares the record for maximum Durand Cup wins with East Bengal and has maximum number of Rovers Cup titles. However, it is the Federation Cup that has proved to be a darling for Asiaa��s oldest club since it was started in 1977. With 13 titles, Mohun Bagan is by far the most successful club in Indiaa��s version of the FA Cup.

Early successes and First Hattrick of Titles

The first Federation Cup was held in 1977 in Ernakulam. Mohun Bagan had roped in legendary PK Banerjee as coach and had built up a formidable outfit to come out of a dark phase in early 1970s. Arch rivals East Bengal was managed by Amal Dutta and the unpredictable coach forbade his team to play in Fed Cup citing lack of preparation.

Under PK Mohun Bagan played some brilliant football in Ernakulam reaching the final where they faced ITI Bangalore. The Green & Maroons dominated the match from start to end; creating an incredible eighteen goal scoring opportunities but failed to score even one goal. ITIa��s Rajshekhar scored a goal from a clinical counter attack as Mohun Bagan was left stunned to lose 1-0.

Mohun Bagan was once again back in the final in 1978 and this time their arch-rivals also qualified to the title decider. The two teams completely cancelled each other out in course of 90 minutes as the match ended goal-less. There was no facility of tie-breakers to decide matches in Federation Cup at that time, so the title was shared between the Kolkata clubs.

Chima (left) and Subrata Bhattacharya (right) helped
Mohun Bagan in Fed Cup victories more than once

After a gap of one season, Mohun Bagan once again faced East Bengal in Fed Cup final, in 1980. The tie couldna��t be decided like the earlier final, ending with a 1-1 scoreline as the teams shared the trophy. The final in Coimbature was a keenly contested affair with both teams losing their tempers on the field. Subhash Bhowmik was singled out for some thumping tackles by East Bengal players while the usually cool headed Surajit Sengupta got a red card (the only red card of his career).

Mohun Bagan finally captured a title without sharing in 1981 a�� defeating Mohammedan SC 2-1. The performance in a 2-0 win over East Bengal in semi-final stands out. Months before Fed Cup, goals from Jamshid Nasiri and Majid Baskar had earned East Bengal a 2-2 draw with Bagan in Rovers Cup. In this match Subrata Bhattacharya completely neutralized Baskar. Xavier Pius from Kerala dished out an exceptional performance by scoring two goals. In midfield Goutam Sarkar was impregnable while Mohammad Habib created a host of chances as playmaker.A�

In 1982, two youthful players arrived in Bagan a�� Krishanu Dey and Bikash Panji. The duo would later turn into one of the most feared combinations in Indian football. Mohun Bagan dutifully annexed the Fed Cup title that year by beating Mumbaia��s Mafatlal Mills by a solitary goal. Thus, the club became the first club in history to capture a hattrick of Fed Cup titles.

In 1983 and 1984 a brilliant Mohammedan SC team won back to back titles. Mohun Bagan came back into the mix between 1985 and 1987 a�� reaching three consecutive finals and winning twice. In 1986 the Federation Cup final was decided for the first time via tie-breaker as Bagan triumphed 5-4 in penalty shootout over East Bengal. A 2-0 victory over Salgaocar in 1987 brought home the sixth Fed Cup title.

Winning Multiple Titles in 1990’s

Between 1987 and 1991 the Green & Maroons didna��t manage to qualify for a single Fed Cup final and had to watch Salgaocar and Kerala Police win back to back titles. The dreadful streak finally came to an end in 1992 thanks to a Bagan side boasting the likes of Chima Okerie and Shishir Ghosh in forward line. Mohun Bagan thumped East Bengal 2-0 in the final and captured their first Fed Cup of 1990s.

In 1993 Mohun Bagan was placed along with East Bengal in group stages and qualified narrowly ahead of them on goal difference. A goal from VP Sathyan led Mohun Bagan to defeat Mahindra and Mahindra in the final. Following year, Salgaocar was dispatched in the final as Bagan won 3-0 in tie-breaker, achieving a second hattrick of titles.

1994 to 1997 was a dark period for the club in Fed Cup. They struggled to cope with Sukhwinder Singha��s JCT juggernaut and failed to win a single title. Worse was to happen in 1997. After a blitzing start Mohun Bagan faced East Bengal in semi-final in one of the most anticipated derbies of all time. A 131,000 crowd watched Baichung Bhutia score a hattrick as Bagan was shattered 4-1 by their arch-rivals.

Fans celebrate Fed Cup win in 2001

The long elusive 10th Fed Cup title was finally achieved in 1998 with the fearsome striking pair of Chima and IM Vijayan. A Chima brace lifted Bagan above FC Kochin in quarter final while Samy Omollo struck the only goal in the semi-final win over SBT. Bagan once again squared off against East Bengal in the final, and won 2-1. Amit Das and Vijayan put the Green & Maroons ahead within 20 minutes while Carlton Chapman scored a late consolation for East Bengal.

In first decade of 21st century the Kolkata clubs have struggled in other tournaments but have routinely done well in Fed Cup. Mohun Bagan has won the title thrice in 2000s a�� 2001, 2006 and 2008.

Fed Cup Wins in 2001, 2006 and 2008

In early 2000s Subrata Bhattacharyaa��s Mohun Bagan was by far the strongest team in India as they travelled to Chennai to play in Fed Cup. This was a tournament where Jose Ramirez Barreto performed brilliantly with lanky a�?keeper Bibhas Ghosh doing exceptionally well. Bhattacharyaa��s team was torn apart by as many as six Manipuri players starting for Air India in first round. Barreto scored a goal while he assisted one more as Bagan took a 2-0 lead by 60th minute. Bagan struggled to cope with Air Indiaa��s pace but somehow held on due to Ghosha��s sharp saves.

In quarter final Salgaocar took the lead but Mohun Bagan came back to score two goals via Barreto and Seriki in between 25th and 35th minute. Mohun Bagan eventually won 3-1. Barreto scored his third goal of the tournament and Rennedy Singh joined the party in semi-final with Bagan dispatching Mahindra United 2-0.

In final Barreto gave Bagan the lead within first 15 minutes but Armando Colacoa��s Dempo staged a spirited fight back. It took another superlative performance from Ghosh to stop Dempoa��s attacks. Serikia��s goal on 78th minute finally calmed Bagana��s nerves. Subrata Bhattacharya who had won 6 titles as a player won his first Fed Cup title as coach. Barreto was selected as the best player of the tournament.

Dempo exacted revenge of this loss by defeating Mohun Bagan by the same scoreline in 2004. The final was marred by the tragic death of Brazilian striker Cristiano Junior, who died after colliding with Bagan a�?keeper Subrata Pal.

In 2006 Mohun Bagan was in doldrums before Fed Cup with Brazilian Robson, who was actually a physical trainer, being the coach. Barreto was back in Mohun Bagan after a brilliant season with Mahindra and played a major part in the Fed Cup win once again. Braces from Baichung and Mehtab Hussain saw Bagan crush Viva Kerala 4-1 in first round.

Churchill Brothers, opponents in quarter-final, was a formidable team that season with a young Moroccan coach named Karim Bencharifa and a certain Odafa Okalie. A Dipendu Biswas header on 86th minute saw Mohun Bagan grab a 2-2 draw in normal time. In tie-breaker Sangram Mukherjee became the hero as Bagan eked out a 3-1 win.

In semi-final Baichung was unstoppable as he scored 2 goals in another 2-2 draw with Dempo. Ranty Martins and Lalam Puia were given marching orders as both teams finished the match with 10 players. The tie breaker scoreline read 4-4 as sudden death arrived. Jerry Zirsanga missed his kick while Dharamjit converted his shot to take Mohun Bagan to yet another Fed Cup final.

Sangram Mukherjee’s (right) heroics ensured the 2006 Fed Cup victory

The final ended in a stale mate as Mohun Bagan players braced for a third consecutive penalty shootout. Sangram Mukherjee once again became the savior as he palmed away two Sporting Clube De Goa penalties in the shootout. He was also declared the man of the match in final as Mohun Bagan won a Fed Cup when it was least expected.

In 2008 Mohun Bagan almost got knocked out in group stages after losing 1-0 to Vasco but survived on goal difference. A thrilling encounter in semi-final saw East Bengal and Mohun Bagan match each other blow by blows as the match ended 1-1 in regulation time. Sangram Mukherjeea��s prowess during penalty shootout once again came to the forefront. He saved Sunil Chhetria��s spot kick in tie-breaker handing Mohun Bagan their 7th consecutive derby win at the Salt Lake stadium.

In final, Jose Ramirez Barreto scored his 4th goal in Fed Cup 2008 from a Lalkamal Bhowmik corner. Karim Bencharifa outthought Armando Colaco tactically and completely neutralized Clifford Miranda and Beto. This proved to Mohun Bagana��s 13th and till date last Federation Cup title.

Mohun Bagan has often outperformed itself in the Federation Cup. Even last season the cluba��s performance in Fed Cup was a lone spot of bright light in an otherwise dismal year. This season Mohun Bagan has assembled a fearsome squad and the fans will be hoping for a 14th title.

Credits: Zia Ur Rahaman and�for first picture.

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