The 130th edition of the Durand Cup had a climactic ending as FC Goa won after 120 entertaining minutes. Despite the various COVID protocols, the tournament did not disappoint the faithful fans. Exciting games, emerging talents, underdogs, this tournament had it all.
Mohammedan Sporting faced their group rival FC Bengaluru United in the semi-finals. The I-League team did not hold back and took revenge for the loss during the group stages. FC Goa on the other hand defeated fellow heavyweights Bengaluru FC thus send both the clubs from Bangalore back home.
The finals was played in the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan which recorded an attendance of nearly 34000 people. The weather had always been the spoilsport throughout the tournament but decided to enjoy the finals resulting in a closely contested final.
Durand Cup Finals: The Game
Both the team tried capitalizing on the game from early on but none succeeded. The teams lost the ball and regained it almost immediately every minute while trying to assert their dominance. Goa had the first real chance when a brilliant cut-back from Noguera found Nemil and Romario in an equal position. An amateur mix-up led to the chance being wasted.
In the minutes that followed, Goa started taking shots but in vain while Mohammedan upped their aggression. The I-League team received 3 bookings before the half-hour mark. They thought that they took the lead 5 minutes later only for it to be disallowed. Milan Singh’s shot from far out flew into the net sending the crowd wild. The referee had whistled for a foul before the shot and thus the game remained goalless.
Goa started the second half strong as coach Juan Ferrando Fenoll stuck with his lineup. Mohammedan were the first to make a change bringing on Brandon Vanlalremdika for Azharuddin Mallick. Goa did not make a change until the 85th minute.
The final minutes had its magic as both teams made a number of runs and crosses, none leading to a goal. The best chance came with a minute left when Devendra’s quick feet set up Redeem. Even though it was a tight angle, Radeem took an ambition shot that whizzed across the face of the goal.
The game crept into extra time and Mohammedan looked promising creating 2 chances. It was Goa that had the last laugh though when Captain Edu Bedia sent his free-kick into the goal in the 105th minute. Mohammedan continued their spark into the second half but sent shot after shot away from the target. Nikola’s shot in the 118th minute required goalkeeper Naveen Kumar’s brilliance to keep the game in Goa’s favour.
For outstanding performance in goal throughout the tournament, Golden Glove: Naveen Kumar (FC Goa)
Bagging the most number of Goals, Golden Boot: Marcus Joseph (Mohammedan Sporting Club)
A Captain’s composure can never be matched, Golden Ball: Eduardo Bedia (FC Goa)
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