Kolkata: Indian Super League side FC Goa were crowned champions of the 130th Durand Cup football championship, beating local outfit Mohammedan Sporting 1-0 at the end of extra time in a climactic culmination to the event at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) on Sunday night. This was FC Goas first triumph in Indias oldest football tournament.
The Gaurs defeated Mohammedan 1-0 owing to a set-piece goal scored by their captain and Man of the Match, Eduardo Bedia in the 105th minute off a free-kick after the two teams were locked goalless after 90 minutes of regulation time. Goa pocketed a cheque of Rs 40 lakh while Mohammedan Sporting Club got Rs 20 lakh.
FC Goa along with two rolling trophies of the Durand Cup and the Shimla Trophy were also awarded the President’s Cup for permanent keeping.
The final kicked off on a lively note in front of around 34,000 spectators with both Mohammedan Sporting and FC Goa going on the attack from the word go. Though both teams were looking to attack but were failing to keep possession for longer durations. The first shot of the match came from Marcus Joseph in the third minute but it was wayward. Soon after, FC Goa created a chance but a mix-up between Nemil and Romario in the box led to an easy save for the Mohammedan SC keeper.
As the half started to progress, the tempo started to rise and the foul count also started to increase. Mohammedan was at the receiving end of the cards as they received three yellow cards within 17 minutes with the names Azharuddin Mallick, Nikola Stojanovic, and Shaher Shaheen going into the book.
The match was slowly starting to open up now, as chances were being created more often but none of them was being converted and the two teams were locked 0-0 at half-time.
The second half saw FC Goa dominating possession but were finding it difficult to create concrete chances as they were losing the ball far too easily in the final third.
The last few minutes of the second half saw some moments of excitement. Mohammedan made some good runs down the left flank but again failed to make them count. In the injury time, Redeem Tlang came close to scoring the first goal but the angle was too steep and the ball went across the face of the goal.
With scores tied at 0-0 at the end of the regulation time, the final went into extra time. The story of missed chances continued in the first half too as both teams continued with the trend.
Just when it was looking like the first half of the extra-time was going to end go’lless, came Bedia’s goal that gave them the lead. The FC Goa captain scored from a fantastic free-kick awarded just outside the Mohammedan box in the 105th minute owing to a foul by Milan Singh.
Though Mohammedan made some desperate efforts in the second half of the extra-time and came close when Nikola Stojanovic shot from distance and forced ‘ flying save from ‘keeper Naveen Kumar, it seemed Goa could not be denied on Sunday.