3 Reasons Why Mohun Bagan lost the Durand Cup 2019 final to Gokulam Kerala
In a cagey first half, in which both the teams were wary of being open at the back, a few chances were created at either end but none were converted.
At the end of the first half, a through ball from Joseph found Henry Kisekka who was fouled inside the penalty area by Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Debjit Majumder. Joseph stepped up to take the penalty and buried it in the bottom right corner.
Joseph doubled the lead at the start of the second half after a solo sprint and placing the ball inside the near post after beating the goalkeeper. Salva Chamorro pulled a goal back for the Kolkata football giants courtesy of a mistake from the Gokulam Kerala goalkeeper Ubaid CK.
Gokulam Kerala, a club found in 2017 lifted the coveted Durand Cup trophy, the oldest Asian football tournament in history. Kerala skipper Marcus Joseph also bagged the golden ball and golden shoe for scoring the most number of goals (11 goals in 5 matches) in the tournament.
Here are three reasons why Mohun Bagan lost the final to Gokulam Kerala.
#1 A change in formation with two strikers up-front
Mohun Bagan benefited in the semi-final after the introduction of VP Suhair, hence was rewarded a start with two strikers against Gokulam Kerala in the final.
Both the strikers received very less service throughout the match and created next to nill chances on their own as well.
Another victim of a change in formation was Nongdamba Naorem as the midfielder was forced to play on the left wing as an inverted winger which reduced his impact on the match. This also resulted in inconsistent service from the left wing during the match.
#2 Poor finishing throughout the match
The problem that has been troubling the Mohun Bagan match throughout the tournament was back in the final. While the midfield was struggling to create as many chances as they did in the semi-final, the finishing was equally poor.
Gurjinder Kumar and Joseba Beitia got away the most shots but were unable to hit the target most of the time. VP Suhair was firing straight at the goalkeeper whenever given a chance.
The only goal Mohun Bagan scored in the match was due to an error from the Gokulam Kerala goalkeeper Ubaid CK.
#3 Poor defensive performance from Mohun Bagan defenders
In the semi-final, Ashutosh Mehta was at his best making tackles when required and stayed in the correct positions for most of the match. Francisco Morante led the whole backline making a goal-line clearance as well. Gurjinder Kumar often got forward while covering the whole left flank.
In this match, Morante was practically invisible in the first goal as Joseph put a clean through-ball for Kisekka. Then, in the second goal, Joseph was allowed to make an unchallenged run down the left flank with Ashutosh Mehta joining the forwards ahead and not getting back to cover his position in defense.