Durand Cup Final 2019: Gokulam Kerala 2-1 Mohun Bagan – Hits and Flops
FC Kochin were the last team from the football-crazy state to win this tournament way back in 1997.
Gokulam broke the dead-lock in the injury time of the first half when Henry Kisekka was pulled down by Mohun Bagan custodian Debjit Majumder in the box. Mohun Bagan restored parity in the second half though a header from Salva Chamorro. However, Joseph put Gokulam on front again with a brilliant solo effort.
Let us look at the hits and flops of the match
#5 Joseba Beitia (Hit)
Being the best recruit for Mohun Bagan this season, all eyes were on Joseba Beitia on Saturday. The Spaniard may not have scored a goal, but his performance was impressive as usual. It is his bad luck that his teammates failed to capitalise on his passes.
From the very first minute, Beitia started to take control of the midfield. He used his skills brilliantly to bamboozle Gokulam defenders. Knowing the threat that he poses, Gokulam players marked him tightly and even committed some fouls in the process.
That didn’t deter Beitia though, who kept on working hard. He was all over the field to help his team. He took a trademark free-kick in the 64th minute from which Salva Chamorro reduced the margin.
#4 Henry Kisekka (Flop)
There was much hope on the Ugandan since his returned to Gokulam Kerala this season. But Henry Kisekka failed to impress once again. Being a striker, it is expected that he would score goal when the team the team is in trouble. But once again he failed to do this job.
It is true that it was him who earned the penalty, from which Marcus Joseph scored his 10th goal. But if he was more alert, he could have scored the goal himself.
The defence-splitting pass from Marcus Joseph landed perfectly as Kisekka’s feet, who made a heavy touch to dribble the goalkeeper, but fortunately the goalkeeper pulled him down before he could touch the ball again.
It was another disappointing day for Kisekka who missed another golden chance in the 2nd half.
#3 Salva Chamorro (Hit)
There was much hope on Salva Chamorro, especially after his impressive performance in the semi-final. Though he couldn’t bring smile in the supporters’ face on Saturday, but his performance was not disappointing at all.
He was off-colour in the opening 45 minutes though. Gokulam defenders kept him under tight marking, cutting the link between him and Beitia. Chamorro was helpless and angry as he couldn’t get the ball much. Add to that, he was fouled countless times.
However, Chamorro showed glimpse of his talent with the header in the 2nd half off a beautiful free-kick off Beitia. He kept the momentum and took the responsibility. Unfortunately, some stout defending didn’t give him enough chances.
He had the chance to become the hero, but he missed a golden chance to equalize in the injury time of the 2nd half when Fran Gonzalez lobbed an inch-perfect delivery to him. Sadly, his effort went just over the bar.
#2 Suhair VP (Flop)
Suhair VP became the talking point for Green and Maroon supporters with his performance in semi-final. His two goals in the injury time won the match for Mohun Bagan. Impressed with his performance, Mohun Bagan coach Kibu Vicuna included him in the first XI in the final.
Suhair had the chance to become a hero against his former team. Unfortunately, his performance was thoroughly disappointing. There was no communication between him and other striker Chamorro. He also got less support from his teammates as Surabuddin Mullick, who was playing from the right wing, also disappointed with his performance.
#1 Marcus Joseph (Hit)
Eleven goals in five matches. Marcus Joseph would be going home with a terrific record after his name. Without a doubt, he has been the most impactful and consistent striker to have played in India in recent times.
Coming in the second half of I-League last season, Joseph has been scoring goals on a regular basis. Even in the I-League game against Mohun Bagan, he has scored one. His goal-scoring prowess continued in the final too. With this brace in the final, he has now scored in five successive matches in Durand Cup, a record he should be proud of.
His first goal came in the injury time of the first half from the penalty spot after Kisekka was fouled in the box. But it was Joseph who made the defence-splitting pass to Kisekka.
However, his second was an example of sheer individual brilliance. After he got a nice through ball from Huidrom Naocha Singh, Joseph dazzled past couple of Mohun Bagan defenders with his sheer speed and eventually scored beating Debjit Majumder in the first post.