The 130th edition of the Durand Cup drew to a climactic apotheosis today at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) in Kolkata. FC Goa managed to clinch the title for the first time in Durand’s history.
The Gaurs bested Mohammedan Sporting Club in a tense 1-0 victory. FC Goa’s only goal came from a set-piece scored by Captain and Man of the Match, Eduardo Bedia in the 105th minute of extra time.
With the Durand crown, coach Juan Ferrando Fenoll bags his first-ever trophy on Indian Soil. Besides the two rolling trophies of the Durand Cup and the Shimla Trophy, FC Goa were awarded the President’s Cup.
The final launched on a vibrant note before 34,000+ spectators with both teams charging to attack at the first whistle. Mohammedan and FC Goa hustled to blitz the other but neither kept possession for long. Marcus Joseph fired the first shot of the match three minutes in but it drifted wide.
Following up, FC Goa created a chance. However, confusion in the box between Nemil and Romario resulted in an easy save for the Mohammedan SC keeper.
FC Goa create history with first Durand Cup Final win
As the minutes ticked on, temperatures started to rise. Mohammedan were unlucky to be on the receiving end as they picked up three yellow cards in 17 minutes. Nikola Stojanovic, Azharuddin Mallick and Shaher Shaheen went into the book.
The match slowly started to open up, with chances coming for both ends but none is actually converted. Around the 35th minute, the crowd suddenly when Milan Singh let loose a stunning a shot from distance that flew into the net.
However, the referee called for a foul just before the shot was taken and there was a disappointed sigh. Romario created the best chance of the half for FC Goa.
Sanson Pereira nonplused the defence, swinging in a cross from the left flank. Unfortunately, Romario dragged the shot wide of the goal post. The first half ended with the scores level at 0-0.
The Gaurs dominated possession beginning the second half. But they were not creating proper chances as they were getting dispossessed too easily in the final third. Meanwhile, Mohammedan made the first chance of the match, replacing Azharuddin Mallick with Brandon Vanlalremdika.
Mallick who was already on a yellow and Mohammedan did not want to risk him. The side from Goa also made their first substitution later on in the 85th minute. Romario Jesuraj came off to give way for Redeem Tlang.
The last few minutes did indeed heat up. Mohammedan darted runs down the left flank in the last 5 minutes but failed to capitalize on them.
Into injury time, Redeem Tlang almost gave Goa the advantage. But the angle proved too steep and the ball rolled beyond the face of the goal. At the end of regulation time, the scores remained tied at 0-0 and into extra time the match went.
Mohammedan were desperate to score in the second half of the extra time. However, they seemed indisposed, similar to their performance in normal time. FC Goa looked like they would now have an easier time finishing off the game.
But Mohammedan players had other ideas. The Gaurs suffered a scare with just 2 minutes left in extra time. A rocket of an effort from Nikola Stojanovic from distance made keeper Naveen Kumar stretch to save.
Culminating the 130th Durand Cup, FC Goa went on to clinch the title for the first time.
The players and the teams participating in the Cup were also duly awarded. The awards are as follows:
Champions Award: FC Goa – INR 40 Lacs
Runner-up Award: Mohammedan Sporting Club – INR 20 Lac
Golden Glove Award: Naveen Kumar (FC Goa) – INR 1 Lac
Golden Boot Award: Marcus Joseph (Mohammedan Sporting Club) – INR 1 Lac
Golden Ball Award: Eduardo Bedia (FC Goa) – INR 1 Lac
Losing Semi-Finalists Award:
1. FC Bengaluru United – INR 5 Lac
2. Bengaluru FC – INR 5 Lac
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