Durand Cup 2023 Final: Three talking points as Mohun Bagan beat East Bengal
The last time Mohun Bagan won the Durand Cup was in 2000.
Mohun Bagan earned their 17th Durand Cup title by defeating East Bengal 1-0 in the grand finale. Dimitri Petratos’ brilliant solo brilliancy and Juan Ferrando’s tactical masterclass helped Bagan add yet another trophy to their cabinet.
Here, we’ll look at the three talking points of the game.
3. Mohamad Rakip’s brilliance
Although Rakip was taken off in the last quarter of the game after East Bengal went a goal down, it must be accepted that he was the best East Bengal player on the pitch. Whether stopping Ashique Kuruniyan on his tracks or overlapping forward, he was undoubtedly solid. He was in fact, hardly seen committing any mistakes.
Carles Cuadrat should definitely consider starting Mohamad Rakip over Harmanjot Khabra or even Nishu Kumar.
2. Dimitri Petratos is back!
Just when Mohun Bagan fans thought Petratos was off colour or perhaps not fully fit, he reclaimed his lost ground. And that too, in style. In the previous derby (Durand Cup group stages), Nandhakumar Sekar had scored a brilliant goal to give East Bengal the win.
But in this derby, Dimitri almost replicated the same and that too with his weaker left foot. A cluster of East Bengal defenders were in front of him but his left-footed strike not only went past the defenders but also goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill. Gill absolutely had no chance!
1. Juan Ferrando masterclass
When Mohun Bagan went a man down in the 62nd minute, courtesy Anirudh Thapa’s red card, everyone thought East Bengal would start dominating proceedings. But Juan Ferrando was not ready to bow down. He brought in a triple-substitution – Glan Martins, Liston Colaco and Jason Cummings.
He introduced a complete overhaul in the strategy and the Bagan army calmly adapted to the new approach. Just two minutes after he made the changes, Mohun Bagan earned their solitary goal. What can be even better? It was Jason Cummings who delivered the ball to Petratos when Mohun Bagan lodged the counter.
With 10-men and a ravaging East Bengal in front of them, the Bagan defence looked absolutely resolute and disciplined.