Durand Cup: Mohammedan, Bengaluru teams and Goa reach semifinals

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Mohammedan SC face familiar foes FC Bengaluru United while FC Goa face Bengaluru FC in the semifinals of the Durand Cup. Mohammedan pip Gokulam Kerala 1-0 whereas FC Goa defeated Delhi FC 5-1. On the other hand, Bengaluru FC came from behind to register a 3-2 win against Army Green.

Marcus Joseph scored the only goal against his former side while Devendra Murgaokar, Mohammed Nemil, Brandon Fernandez, Leander D Cunha and Romario Jesuraj ensured a five-star performance against the side from Capital. Goals from Wungngayam Muirang, Leon Augustine and Namgyal Bhutia ensured the victory for the Blues reserves team.

Many of the Army Red players tested positive for COVID-19 and as a result, Bengaluru United made it to the semifinals. After defeating Black Panthers in Group A, will they get lucky in the second attempt too? Or will the hosts take sweet revenge against the 2nd division club?

Mohammedan, Bengaluru and Goa firing on all cylinders in the 130th edition of Durand Cup

The first quarterfinal between defending champions Gokulam Kerala and hosts Mohammedan SC turned out to be a close one. However, the spectators were in for a real treat and it was a heavily-contested duel between the two I-League giants.

Both the clubs were the top goalscoring teams in the Asia’s oldest competition. Vincenzo Annese led Gokulam were coming after an ecstatic 7-2 drubbing of minnows Assam Rifles. However, they faced a huge setback against the Panthers after going behind in the 44th minute.

The early lead by ex-Gokulam player Marcus Joseph gave the hosts a psychological edge over the defending champions. The tournament’s first hat-trick hero of this edition Elvis Chikatara was well dealt by Mohammedan defence and the Malabarians were frustrated after failing to find the equalizer.

The Kolkata club preserved their lead after a defensively sound performance in the second half. They would be facing I-League 2nd division side FC Bengaluru United in the much-awaited first semifinal on 27th September.

ISL heavyweights Goa and Bengaluru FC face off in the second semi-final

FC Goa have been successful so far fielding some of their senior squad players alongside few foreign recruits. On the other hand, Bengaluru reserves are also unbeaten.

The Gaurs were too hot to handle as Delhi FC bowed out from the tournament after a 5-1 loss to the ISL giants. Despite an energetic few minutes initially, Delhi FC failed to score goals even after getting many opportunities. Whereas, Goa broke the deadlock as early as in the 15th minute thanks to a goal from Devendra Murgaokar.

Three minutes later, Nemil scored the second goal. Brandon Fernandes’ curler made it 3-0 before halftime. Goa were defensively and offensively sound but did concede a goal in the 82nd minute. This time Nikhil Mali expertly slotted it past Goa custodian Dheeraj Singh.

D Cunha and Jesuraj scored in the latter stages to gift a 5-1 win to the Goan heavyweights.

In another match, Bengaluru once again needed to bounce back. Army Green were pressing well and were gifted with an early opportunity. Lallawmkima PC successfully converted the penalty in the 9th minute. However, the joy didn’t last long as Muirang equalised in the 20th minute for the Blues.

The second half was even better as Leon Augustine and Namgyal Bhutia scored goals to complete the comeback. The Bengaluru giants were playing a more attacking style of football in the second half and were creating more opportunities.

The regimental team’s star man Deepak Singh was having a bad day in the office and failed to inspire his team to another giant-killing performance. Nevertheless, Army Green pulled one back to make it 3-2 but it was too late.

As a result, Bengaluru FC will face FC Goa in the second semifinal on 29th September. Will Ferrando return home with another trophy or will Naushad Moosa’s lads succeed?

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