Edu Bedia powers FC Goa to victory in Durand Cup 2021 final
Captain Edu Bedia led from the front as his goal in extra-time helped FC Goa beat Mohammedan SC 1-0 to bag their maiden Durand Cup title.
The Salt Lake Stadium roared with crowds chanting for local favourites Mohammedan SC as the final got underway. The intensity of the encounter was surging as both sides pushed hard at each other from the first minute.
When the clock ticked seven, Alberto Noguera produced a beautiful cut-back from the left flank which found both Muhammed Nemil and Alexander Romario. However, what could have been a scoring opportunity was missed as the two lacked communication and found the gloves of the Mohammedan keeper Zothanmawia.
Six minutes later, Azharuddin Mallick of the home side was booked by the referee - becoming the first to be handed a yellow card of the evening with many more to follow.
Nikola Stojanovic was the second to see yellow. With the tempers running high in the all-important game, the players were cantankerous, intending to generate something out of nothing. Shaher Shaheen was the third Mohammedan player to be booked - this time for a crunching challenge on Devendra Murgaokar.
In the 35th minute, Milan Singh sent the ball scorching inside the goal only to realise that the referee had blown his whistle indicating foul before he took the shot.
Both teams exhibited aggression in the final five minutes of the first half but there was nothing to separate the two at half-time.
The second half proceeded rather quietly under FC Goa’s command who dictated the tempo with the majority of the possession. Though, none of the sides made a substantial attempt to attack and threaten the other.
But Goa produced a fine chance in the added time of the second half. Devendra showcased a great bit of skill to set up Redeem Tlang, who attempted a shot which flashed across the goal. However, the angle was too tight to take inside.
The final moved to extra-time where Wayne Vaz created an initial chance with a header delivered by Stojanovic but to no avail, it went straight at FC Goa keeper Naveen Kumar.
But then, Bedia came up with the match-defining moment. The Spaniard struck a delightful freekick into the back of the net, beating everything and everybody.
With minutes away from glory, FC Goa put up a solid defensive show and earned Juan Ferrando his first title in Indian football.