Durand Cup 2021 Final: Mohammedan Sporting vs FC Goa key battles

Mohammedan Sporting won the Durand Cup in 2013. Image Credits:
Mohammedan Sporting won the Durand Cup in 2013. Image Credits:
Tanay Apte

Mohammedan Sporting take on FC Goa in the Durand Cup 2021 final at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Sunday. Both sides have shown the required quality to merit their place in this summit clash.

The Black Panthers will not be short of support off the field as around 40,000 fans are expected to be in the stands. On the pitch, however, there are some intriguing individual battles which could decide the destination of the trophy.

Marcus Joseph (Mohammedan Sporting) vs Ivan Gonzalez (FC Goa)

Marcus Joseph is the joint top scorer of the Durand Cup 2021 and will be hoping to finish at the top for a second consecutive time. In his way stands Ivan Gonzalez, who may be a bit rusty considering his involvement in this competition began only in the previous game.

Joseph is strong, has quick feet and a very good left foot. If he can get the better of FC Goa's defensive mainstay, Mohammedan will be just that much closer to the trophy.

Nikola Stojanovic (Mohammedan Sporting) vs Edu Bedia (FC Goa)

This is a midfield battle to look forward to with the all-action Nikola Stojanovic coming up against the experienced Edu Bedia. They are likely to come up directly against one another with Stojanovic playing in an advanced midfield role with Edu screening the defence.

Stojanovic has run the show for Mohammedan throughout the tournament, contributing with goals and assists. Edu has been the wise old guide to this young FC Goa team, setting an example on the pitch.

Shaher Shaheen (Mohammedan Sporting) vs Devendra Murgaonkar (FC Goa)

Syrian Shaher Shaheen has marshalled the Mohammedan defense brilliantly so far with his physicality and composure. He will be up against the other joint top scorer of the Durand Cup 2021, Devendra Murgaonkar.

Murgaonkar is not a forward that stands out or draws many eyeballs. But what he lacks in stature and skill, he makes up for with his predatory striker's instinct.

He has five goals and Shaheen would have to be alert all game to stop him pipping Joseph to the crown.

Faisal Ali (Mohammedan Sporting) vs Leander D'Cunha/Sanson Pereira (FC Goa)

The battle on the wings could end up being decisive if the centre of the pitch gets too crowded. Faisal Ali has the ability to get fans off their seats with his direct dribbling and he also has the stats to back it up.

Mohammedan have the tendency to switch their wingers mid-way through the game with Faisal and SK Faiaz swapping positions. That means both FC Goa full-backs will have their hands full with both at some point in the game.

Dealing with offensive wingers means Leander D'Cunha and Sanson Pereira will have to curb their attacking forays into the opposition half. Whichever side can tip this attack-defense balance on the flanks in their favor could come out on top.

Edited by Habil Ahmed Sherule
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