The Mariners will now face Gokulam Kerala in the final of the tournament.

Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan trounced Real Kashmir 3-1 in the Durand Cup semi-final at the Salt Lake Stadium, in a match of close margins for both sides on Wednesday.

It was Salva Chamorro who broke the deadlock for the Mariners in the 42nd minute, as Real Kashmir struggled to get going in the game. David Robertson’s side finally scored right in the dying minutes of the match, as Gnohere Krizo came up with a stunning header in the 93rd minute, to keep his team in the hunt going into extra-time.

The Mariners came back strongly in added-time, as VP Suhair scored in both halves to take the game beyond the reach of the Snow Leopards. Here are the talking points from the match:

5. Is this Sk Sahil’s season to make his name in Mohun Bagan folklore?

Coming from the youth academy, there was pressure on the young midfielder to make his mark in Kibu Vicuna‘s mind. But, in the early stages of the season, Sahil has shown tremendous tenacity and game reading ability to thwart opposition midfielders and not allow them enough space to work with.

The youngster has been a standout performer for the Mariners and has allowed Joseba Beitia to venture forward with ease. While his tackling still needs a lot of improvement, Sahil can be a mainstay in Vicuna’s side if he maintains consistency.

4. Did David Robertson miss a trick by playing Danish Farooq deep in midfield?

The Real Kashmir fan-favourite is known for his skills and goalscoring ability. However, head coach Robertson fielded him in a more conservative role deep in midfield and he was not allowed the freedom he generally likes to play with.

The 23-year-old was often bossed by players like Beitia and Sahil in midfield and he also failed to string passes and help in the build-up play of the Snow Leopards.

3. Were Real Kashmir too defensive for their own good?

The Snow Leopards mainly wanted to sit back and hit the Mariners time and again on the counter-attack. Players like Chesterpaul Lyngdoh, Subhash Singh, Ritwik Das and Gnohore Krizo had enough calibre to threaten the Bagan defence. But, Robertson’s side lacked intent in their build-up play, as they allowed the opposition midfield to dominate throughout the game.

Robertson’s mantra last season was to keep an organized defence and then hit opposition on the counter. He has players who are capable of playing that style, but sometimes he also needs to give them the freedom they require to flourish.

2. Do Mohun Bagan need to be more ruthless in the final third?

In a game which was mostly dominated by Bagan, the scoreline will often deceive the fans. The Mariners were fluid in their chance creation and build-up play with Beitia being their main man. Players like Nongdamba Naorem, Chamorro and Romario Jesuraj combined well with the former Real Sociedad ‘B’ midfielder.

The Mariners had ample chances in front of goal, but lack of killer instinct remains a cause of concern for the Green and Maroons’ tactician.

1. Did the late substitutions from Vicuna prove to be the main point of difference for Bagan?

Vicuna was very calculated with the changes he wanted to make in the second half. He replaced Beitia with the energetic Francisco Gonzalez to add more steel in midfield. He also brought in Suhair to use his physical presence upfront alongside Chamorro. The Kerala-born forward replaced Jesuraj, who had a pretty average outing by his own standards. Hence, both the changes were very crucial for Bagan to see of the game.

The Mariners did concede in added-time, but the duo of Gonzalez and Suhair combined excellently to put Bagan back in comand, as the 27-year-old forward scored twice and both times, it was Gonzalez who came up with the assist.