Durand Cup Final 2019: Mohun Bagan vs Gokulam Kerala FC | Match preview, team news, predicted XI, live streaming details
Mohun Bagan are just a win away from a record 17th Durand Cup win when they face an upbeat Gokulam Kerala FC at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday evening. Both teams have had an excellent campaign so far, having won all their matches in the competition.
While Bagan convincingly defeated their semi-final opponents Real Kashmir by a 3-1 margin in extra time, Gokulam Kerala FC edged past mighty East Bengal via penalty shootouts when it was a stalemate after 120 minutes of football.
Mohun Bagan played their best match of the season so far in the semi-final against Real Kashmir FC. ‘The Mariners’, under the tutelage of Kibu Vicuna, have peaked at the right time in the competition. In the previous match, the Kolkata giants dictated terms throughout and played a free-flowing style of football.
But the final won't be a cakewalk for the Kolkata giants. Gokulam Kerala are a hard nut to crack for any team. Mohun Bagan should be extra cautious about the fact that the Kerala-based outfit have been playing some phenomenal football and are unbeaten against the ‘green and maroon’ brigade.
In the four meetings between the two teams, Gokulam Kerala FC has won once, while the rest have ended in the balance. This will be a great opportunity for the ‘The Mariners’ to break the jinx and clinch the Durand Cup title.
Gokulam Kerala FC
Gokulam Kerala FC has been touted as the ‘giant-killers in Indian football and they have lived up to their reputation for quite a while. Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in the semi-final against East Bengal, the team from Kerala has made a statement that they cannot be taken lightly.
The first-time finalists will give a hard time to the 16-time champions against whom they have never lost a match in any competition.
Just when East Bengal was running away with the match and everyone was set for a ‘Kolkata derby’ final, Gokulam Kerala FC broke Red-and-Gold hearts. Fighting for an equaliser, a 93rd-minute penalty was awarded to them changed the complexion of the game. Marcus Joseph converted from the spot while East Bengal went down to 10 men, with Gokulam finally winning the match on penalty shoot-outs.
Gokulam Kerala’s never-say-die attitude has been the mantra for their success in recent times, their teamwork has been laudable. Joseph has been spearheading the attack, while Indian players like Meitei and Shibil Muhammad have also played their hearts out.
Former Mohun Bagan player Henry Kisekka will also play a major part in the context of the game. Not to forget the semi-final hero, custodian Ubaid. Gokulam Kerala FC has enough firepower to win the penultimate match.
Salva Chamorro (Mohun Bagan)
The Spanish striker has evolved a bit from the first game which he played for Mohun Bagan . Although he scored a couple of goals in that match, Salva was out of touch in the next few matches and lacked goal-scoring prowess.
His inability to score with his foot was a worry for Bagan, but he brushed his critics aside in the semi-final. The Spaniard has peaked at the right moment for Mohun Bagan.
Not only did he score a brilliant goal against Real Kashmir FC in the semi-finals, he was also a livewire in the field.
For the first time, he explored the field instead of waiting for an assist, he played small passes with his compatriots. Salva has developed an understanding with midfielder Joseba Beitiait and was visible in the semi-finals. The former Barcelona B player will hold the cards for Bagan in the striking zone.
Nongdamba Naorem (Mohun Bagan)
The Manipuri was roped in by Mohun Bagan earlier this season on loan from ISL outfits Kerala Blasters FC, this has been a very crucial signing for the century-old club. The pacey footballer has been a lifeline for the ‘Green and Maroon’ brigade this season so far.
Generally operating from the left-wing, he pierces opponents' defences with his speedy runs, but he is yet to give an assist or score a goal and will be looking to change that it the final.
Marcus Joseph (Gokulam Kerala FC)
The prolific goal-scorer has been the best player in the tournament so far, with nine goals. With two hat-tricks to his name in the Durand Cup, he will aim to finish off the campaign on a high by guiding his team to a first-ever Durand Cup title.
The Trinidadian could have extended his goals tally in the semi-finals itself if he had not missed a couple of chances from handshaking distance with the goalkeeper. If Gokulam Kerala FC manages to pull off an upset, Marcus is likely to be the difference between the two sides.
Henry Kisekka (Gokulam Kerala FC)
Having played for Mohun Bagan the previous season, Henry Kisekka went back to Gokulam Kerala FC, from where he started his career on Indian soil. The Ugandan has been an unsung hero for Gokulam Kerala FC, playing in a supporting role for Marcus Joseph.
He even scored a goal in Gokulam’s opening game. The last time Kisekka played against Mohun Bagan at the Salt Lake Stadium, he provided an assist and scored the winner for Gokulam Kerala FC. Can he inspire his team to another victory?
Gokulam Kerala FC
Debjit Majumder (Gk), Ashutosh Mehta, Fran Morante, Sukhdev Singh/Lalchawmkima, Gurjinder Kumar, Joseba Beitia, Sheikh Sahil, Surabuddin Mollick, Nongdamba Naorem, Alexander Romario Jesuraj/Suhair VP, Salva Chamorro
Gokulam Kerala FC
Ubaid (Gk), Nganbam Naocha, Andre Dennis Chaz, Mohamed Irshad, Jestin Goerge, Sebastian Thangmuansang, Mohammad Rashid, Malemnganba Meitei, Shibil Muhammed, Henry Kisekka, Marcus Joseph
Mohun Bagan vs Gokulam Kerala FC
Date: 24th August 2019
Kick-off: 5:00 PM IST
Live Stream: Star Sports 3, Hotstar
Venue: Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata
Mohun Bagan will enjoy the privilege of playing in their home stadium as well as in front of their vociferous fans at the majestic Salt Lake Stadium. The stage is all set for Mohun Bagan to lift their first silverware of the season.
Score prediction: Mohun Bagan 2-1 Gokulam Kerala FC