FC Goa beat Bengaluru FC on penalties to enter Durand Cup final
FC Goa beat Bengaluru FC 7-6 on penalties (2-2 in regulation-and-extra time) to reach the final of the Durand Cup at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) in Kolkata on Wednesday night. They will now play Mohammedan Sporting in the grand finale on October 3 at the same venue.
Aiban Dohling, Sanson Pereira, Leander D’Cunha, Edu Bedia, Makan Chote, Lalhmangaihsanga and Christy Davis scored for the Gaurs in the shootout while Wungngayam Muirang, Ajay Chhetri, Parag Srivas, Namgyal Bhutia, Ajith Kumar and Bekey Oram were on the target for the Blues. Redeem Tlang was the only one to miss for Juan Ferrando’s team while Akashdeep Singh and Damaitphang Lyngdoh missed for Naushad Moosa’s team.
- Naveen’s indecisiveness helped Sivasakthi score seconds into the game.
- FC Goa equalised through Murgaokar in the eighth minute.
- FC Goa went 2-1 up through Tlang before Sivasakthi scored his second.
- The scoreline remained 2-2 after regulation time as well as extra-time.
- Akashdeep and Damaitphang missed the target in the shootout as Naveen made amends for the Gaurs.
Bengaluru FC stunned FC Goa in the first minute of the game itself. Naveen Kumar was the culprit as it was his indecisiveness – following a backpass from defender Lalhmangaihsanga -- that allowed Sivasakthi Narayanan to high-press and intercept the lifeless pass from the FC Goa custodian straight into the net.
FC Goa did not take long to equalise. In the eighth minute, Muhammed Nemil provided a nice cross from the left and Devendra Murgaokar did the rest with his head. It was his fifth goal of the tournament.
Having conceded an early goal, both teams tightened their defence and the pace of the game slowed down a little. However, in the 23rd minute Bhutia had a nice opportunity to put his back in the lead but a lack of experience showed as he hit the ball way over the crossbar when no one was near him outside the box and he could have taken his time for a better position before unleashing the shot.
Eight minutes later, Bedia from inside the box was denied by an alert Bengaluru FC defence. In the 36th minute, Nemil failed to keep his shot on target from the edge of the box after being set up by Alberto Noguera, who provided 8 assists for the Gaurs during the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL).
It has to be said that FC Goa were the better side in the first half even though they conceded quite early into the game. With a little bit of luck, they could have found the back of the net at least one more time. The scoreboard read 1-1 at the half-time break.
The Blues started the second half with a lot of intent and aggression. There were two very good opportunities in the first four minutes, however, first Bidyashagar Singh and then Akashdeep failed to hit the target. Akashdeep’s chance was particularly close -- to all intents and purposes.
FC Goa had a nice chance of their own in the 60th minute as Bedia’s free-kick was saved by a diving Lara Sharma in goal for Bengaluru FC. Two minutes later, Tlang was way off target when he should have at least tested the Blues goalkeeper. Tlang made up for his miss in the 72nd minute though with a clinical finish after Noguera set him up skilfully.
Bengaluru FC, against the run of play, equalised in the 83rd minute and once again it was Sivasakthi the goalscorer. He headed a nice cross from the right straight into the net and Naveen, just as in the opening minute of the game, had no clue as to what was happening around him. Both teams were overly defensive for the rest of regulation time and a 2-2 score meant the game headed into extra-time where things didn’t change at all in the first 15 minutes after both teams appeared more focused on defending than attacking.
In the 25th minute of extra time, Bedia came close to scoring but his attempt found the woodwork. This was the only opportunity of note in both the halves of extra-time. Either team failed to find their third goal and the match headed into penalty shootout where FC Goa emerged victorious, although by a whisker.