The Gaurs will face Mohammedan SC in the showpiece.
FC Goa eked out a narrow7-6 victory after a sudden-death tie-breaker over Bengaluru FC (BFC), to make it to their maiden Durand Cup final in a gripping second semi-final played at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), Kolkata, on Wednesday evening. The game ended 2-2 after extra time. They now come up against local favourites Mohammedan Sporting (MDSP) in the final of the 130th edition of the iconic tournament, Asia’s oldest and the world’s third oldest. Coincidentally both the semi-finals ended the same way after 90 minutes.
Christy Davis took the deciding spot-kick in sudden death which saw the Gaurs through as Damaitphang Lyngdoh missed for BFC after both teams were tied 4-4 after the first five stipulated spot-kicks. For Goa, the scorers in the shoot-out were Aibanbha Dohling, Sanson Pereira, Leander D’Cunha, Edu Bedia, Papuia and Makan Chothe, besides Christy. For BFC, the ones to score were Muirang, Ajay Chhetri, Parag Satish, Namgyal Bhutia, Ajith Kumar and Bekey Oram. The one’s to miss out were Redeem Tlang for Goa and Akashdeep Singh and Lyngdoh for Bengaluru FC.
In regulation time Devendra Murgaokar and Redeem Tlang had scored in each half for the Gaurs while Siva Sakti got both goals for BFC.
Goa gaffer Juan Ferrando went into the game with a five-man back line, probably insurance for the fact that he was missing key players like Brandon Fernandes, Glan Martins and Sertion Fernandez, all now on India duty. Naushad Moosa, the BFC coach was the more enterprising, opting for a three-man forward line.
It was yet another goal in the first minute for the second semi-final running. Siva Sakthi took BFC to a flying start, thanks to a shocker by Goa keeper Navin Kumar. Goa bounced back almost immediately. A smartly taken training-ground short corner which Nemil put in the path of Devendra Murgaokar who deflected it past Lara in the BFC goal. This was Murgaokar’s fifth of the tournament and his stature continues to rise with every passing game.
Thereafter it was all Goa in the half and the Gaurs should have taken an unassailable lead but for the wastefulness from the likes of Edu Bedia and Nemil in front of the goal. The half ended even-stevens.
Goa had the upper hand in the second half as well and finally Redeem Tlang, who had just come in as part of a triple change by Coach Juan Ferrando, put them ahead. He would owe it all to Spanish playmaker Alberto Noguera as his piercing run at the BFC defence found him in space and the former Shillong Lajong man made no mistake with a scorching left-footer that whizzed past Lara.
BFC to their credit kept moving forward and found reward 11 minutes later when a move from the right flank by Namgyal Bhutia and his subsequent cross saw Siva Sakti leaping above the Goan defence for his second of the game.
FC Goa’s Murgaokar and Mohameddan’s Marcus Joseph are now the top goal scorers with one game to go. FC Goa’s captain Eduardo Bedia was adjudged the Man of the Match.