The 130th Durand Cup came to a thrilling conclusion today at Kolkata’s Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), with FC Goa being crowned champions for the first time in the tournament’s history.
The Gaurs overcame Mohammedan Sporting Club 1-0 thanks to a set-piece goal scored by Eduardo Bedia, FC Goa’s captain and Man of the Match, in the 105th minute of extra time. Coach Juan Ferrando Fenoll won his first trophy on Indian soil with the Durand victory. The President’s Cup was presented to FC Goa along with two other trophies, the Durand Cup and the Shimla Trophy, for permanent storage.
The final began on a boisterous note in front of 34,000+ spectators, with both Mohammedan Sporting and FC Goa attacking from the start. Although both sides were looking to attack, they were unable to maintain possession for longer periods. Marcus Joseph fired the first shot of the game in the third minute, but it went wide. Soon after, FC Goa created a chance, but a mix-up in the box between Nemil and Romario resulted in a simple Mohammedan SC save.
The temperature started to rise as the half progressed, and the foul count began to rise as well. Mohammedan was dealt three yellow cards in a span of 17 minutes, with the names Azharuddin Mallick, Nikola Stojanovic, and Shaher Shaheen being entered into the book.
The match was starting to open up now, with more opportunities being generated but none of them being converted. In the 35th minute, a shot from Milan Singh went soaring into the goal from a long distance, but the referee signaled a foul just before the shot was taken, causing the audience to erupt in laughter. When the FC Goa defense was completely foxed by a cross from the left flank, Romario had the finest chance of the half, but he sent his attempt wide of the goal post.
After the first half, the score was 0-0.
FC Goa dominated possession in the second half, but their dominance didn’t translate into actual chances because they were surrendering the ball far too readily in the final third. Meanwhile, Mohammedan made their first chance of the game, replacing Azharuddin Mallick, who was already on a yellow card, with Brandon Vanlalremdika. In the 85th minute, FC Goa made their first substitution, with Redeem Tlang replacing Romario Jesuraj.
There were a couple of exciting moments in the last few minutes. In the final five minutes, Mohammedan made numerous terrific runs down the left-wing, but he couldn’t convert them. Redeem Tlang came close to scoring the game’s first goal in injury time, but the angle was too steep and the ball went across the goal face. The final went into extra time with the scores tied at 0-0 at the end of regulation time.
While it appeared like the first half of extra time would end goalless once more, Eduardo Bedia, the magician from FC Goa, delivered the goods. In the 105th minute, the FC Goa skipper scored from a stunning free-kick awarded well beyond the Mohammedan box due to a foul by Milan Singh.
Even though Mohammedan was desperate for a goal in the second half of extra time, they appeared out of sorts, much like they did in regulation time. FC Goa appeared to have no problems closing the deal, but the Gaurs were given a scare with just two minutes left in extra time when a Nikola Stojanovic long-range attempt required a flying save from FC Goa goalkeeper Naveen Kumar.
FC Goa was awarded champions of the 130th Durand Cup for the first time after defeating Mohammedan Sporting Club by a score of 1-0.