On September 23, the knockout round of the Durand Cup 2021 began. Bengaluru FC staged the ultimate comeback to reach the quarter-finals of the 130th Durand Cup, while Delhi FC held on against Kerala Blasters.
The Indian Navy footballers had a hope facing Bengaluru FC, while Kerala Blasters FC had a great opportunity until the very last second, but it was not to be. During the 90 minutes, all four clubs had a mathematical chance of qualifying.
At the Kalyani Municipality Stadium, Delhi faced Kerala Blasters of the Indian Super League. With the game knotted at halftime and Bengaluru trailing the Indian Navy 0-2 in the second half, it was up to both teams to take the lead early in the second half.
Willis Deon Plaza scored the game’s first goal in the 53rd minute, ensuring that the squad from the Capital, who is now in the second tier, simply needed to hold on to their advantage to qualify. Plaza currently has four goals, making him the tournament’s leading scorer.
Bengaluru FC complete a remarkable comeback against the Indian Navy
At the Yuba Bharati Krirangan (YBK), things had gotten out of hand. By the end of the first half, the Indian Navy had taken a 2-0 lead over Bengaluru FC, who appeared to be on the verge of pulling off an incredible shock.
For the first 45 minutes, the Blues were completely off their game. They missed numerous conversion opportunities, and the Indian Navy dominated the game for nearly the whole half.
Jijo scored Sailormen’s first goal in the 19th minute with a beautiful shot from outside the box. Bengaluru had a fantastic chance to equalize a few minutes later when a Harmanpreet cross was smartly received by Sivasakthi, who took a cross-footed effort towards a goal that sailed over the bar. Sreyas, who has had a fantastic tournament, scored the Navy’s second goal in the 30th minute.
In the second half, Bengaluru appeared to be a different team. A blunder in the Navy goal gave Bengaluru Leon Augustine an easy chance to score his team’s first goal just minutes after halftime, but he failed to convert.
Turnaround for Bengaluru FC
Things rapidly changed, however, as Bengaluru picked up the pace. In the 53rd minute, a clever turn by Lyngdoh exposed the Navy defense, and Leon halved the deficit.
Bengaluru sailed on their newfound momentum until Harmanpreet Singh leveled the score in the 61st minute. Bengaluru was handed a penalty in the 75th minute, which Ajay Chhetri converted perfectly, and the game seemed to be slipping away from the Navy at this moment.
In the 81st minute, Harmanpreet scored his second goal of the game, putting an end to any hopes of a legendary comeback. Thoi Singh scored the fifth goal in stoppage time to make it 5-2, but there was still time for a consolation goal, which Vijay scored to make it 5-3. Bengaluru FC has won Group C as a result of all the drama, while Delhi FC has advanced to the quarter-finals as the group’s runners-up.
The 130th Durand Cup quarter-finals will get off at the VYBK on Thursday, September 23rd, with a crucial match between defending winners Gokulam Kerala FC against local favorites Mohammedan Sporting. Bengaluru’s Harmanpreet Singh and Delhi’s defender Anwar Ali were named Man of the Match.