The southerners stood resolute as they beat Mohun Bagan in the final of the tournament on Saturday evening.
Gokulam Kerala edged Mohun Bagan to win the Durand Cup 2019 at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata on Saturday. A Marcus Joseph brace, thanks to a goal in either half which gave Gokulam a strong lead, while the Mariners pulled one back in the 64th minute through Salva Chamorro. The southerners became only the second team from Kerala to win the historic tournament. Here are the Indian player ratings from the game:
Debjit Majumder- 5.0
The loanee from ATK made only his second start in what was a topsy-turvy performance. While he did make some notable saves to parry out danger, he couldn’t do anything, but bring Henry Kisekka down to concede the penalty. Debjit was subsequently unable to keep Joseph’s bullet out. He conceded poorly for Joseph’s second strike, being beaten at his near post. Made up by making some strong saves afterward.
Ashutosh Mehta- 5.0
Mehta was extremely inefficient going forward, being unable to make marauding runs and only producing some looping crosses from deep, which didn’t meet anyone. While he distributed the ball well, he was caught napping for Gokulam’s second goal. Looked exhausted as the game progressed and was subbed off later on.
Kim Kima continued his inconsistent defensive work against the intimidating duo of Kisekka-Joseph, often being caught wrong-footed during Gokulam’s attempts to penetrate the box. He was unable to contain Joseph in the late first half counter-attack, allowing him to put Kisekka through for the penalty.
He was again outpaced by Joseph, allowing him to go through on goal for the second.
Gurjinder Kumar- 5.0
The Mariners’ captain failed to lead from the front, often being too slow to respond to danger. The Malabarians penetrated through his side many times, while Kumar was inefficient going forward apart from one decent cross, which met Fran Morante’s head in the first half. Missed a free header in the second and ran out of energy late into the game.
SK Sahil- 6.5
The livewire in Bagan’s midfield, Sahil continued his promising Durand Cup form by supporting Joseba Beitia well. He made some crucial interceptions and tackles to stop Joseph and Co. from going forward. Also had a shot saved well by Ubaid early on. Moved into centre-back after Morante was substituted, even keeping Joseph out on one occasion.
Surabuddin Mollick- 5.0
Mollick remained a frustrating player, as he made exciting attacking moves through the right with his impressive dribbling ability, but never had the final product. Often gave the ball away cheaply to the fans’ dismay. Substituted after a drab performance.
Nongdamba Naorem- 5.5
Naorem continued being a menacing aspect of Bagan’s attack with his confidence blooming through the left side. He often displayed his majestic trickery by skipping past Gokulam defenders, but lacked that final bite in his delivery.
VP Suhair- 6.0
The semi-final hero started against his former employers, but was given a piece of humble pie in the first half. He was hoarded with strong tackles, marked pretty strongly and was rarely able to push through on goal. However, he fired up in the second half, forcing a great save from Ubaid early on and going close after Gokulam’s second strike.
Alexander Romario Jesuraj- 6.0
Romario injected a bundle of energy into the Mariners’ attack after coming on, moving forward with pace and linking up well with Joseba and Co. Also made some good recovery challenges to spark counter-attacks. Put in a vicious cross late into the game which forced a good save.
Subha Ghosh- NA
Had a late shot on target saved.
Ubaid CK- 5.5
The penalty-hero from last time out was not tested that often thanks to his defence, but made a good save off Sahil to retain his side’s momentum. However, Ubaid horribly fluffed Chamorro’s header to give the Mariners a lifeline. But, he made up by holding on to Fran Gonzalez’s flick in the 84th minute.
Naocha Singh- 7.5
The left-back did well to keep Surabuddin from going through on goal, making some pretty good and timely challenges. He also linked well with Malem going forward, often getting into promising open spaces.
Naocha also produced a moment of brilliance in the 51st minute, stealing the ball from Ashutosh and setting Joseph free to complete his brace. He was rarely ousted on the left and kept up his energetic demeanor through to the final whistle. An unrelenting performance from the hearty full-back.
Mohamed Irshad- 7.0
Irshad was an absolute rock at the back for Gokulam, keeping Chamorro isolated upfront. With his bombastic headers, muscular challenges and fearless presence, he kept his defensive line intact and frustrated the opposition fans in the stands.
Retained his impenetrable defensive attitude when the fire rose, making some solid challenges later in the game. However, he was extremely lucky not to concede a last minute penalty after a handball.
Jestin George- 4.5
The more aggressive of the centre-backs, George clamped into the Bagan players with strong challenges. Received a yellow card for his antics in the first half. His aggressive demeanor cost him late on, when he received another yellow and was sent off.
Sebastian Thangmuansang- 6.5
Sebastian couldn’t move forward freely thanks to Naorem’s presence, but did well to keep his backline shaped perfectly. Nothing spectacular going forward, but scuffed an easy opportunity in the sixth minute. He completely isolated Naorem as the game went on, not allowing the Mariners to attack through his side.
Mohammad Rashid- 6.5
Rashid was left all alone in central midfield, having to keep the Mariners from creating chances down the middle. He intercepted possession quite a few times, also making some notable tackles. Did well going forward on certain counter-attacks. Looks a decent successor to Jayaraj.
Shibil Muhammed- 5.0
Muhammed was quite unconvincing on the right, not being able to create anything and was very isolated throughout the first half.
Malemganba Meitei- 5.5
Malem had a pretty frustrating evening, as he was unable to drift into the middle and was hounded by defenders whenever in possession. Picked up a yellow card for a rash challenge in the first half. Had a shot on target at 2-0, which was saved. Substituted after wearing out.
Mohamed Salah- 6.0
Put in a peach of a cross in the 85th minute, which Joseph couldn’t capitalize on.
Muthu Mayakkannan- NA
Didn’t really make that much of an impact after coming on.