FC Goa were crowned champions of the Durand Cup 2021 after defeating Mohammedan Sporting 1-0 after extra time in Kolkata on Sunday. A very cagey game ended goalless after 90 minutes before Edu Bedia scored the decisive goal with a free-kick in extra time.
FC Goa captain Edu has been instrumental in their triumph, playing in every game and guiding a young squad. He left his best for last though, with his only goal of the tournament being the one which FC Goa the Durand Cup 2021 trophy.
The least entertaining game of the tournament did not do justice to the 43,000 plus assembled in the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan. Both teams kept their shape intact and refused to commit more players to an attacking cause.
The first time the ball found its way into the net was in the 35th minute. A clearance from FC Goa found Milan Singh outside the box and he smashed it into the top corner. But the referee had already blown for a foul before that.
Mohammedan then got their first shot on target three minutes later through Faisal Ali. The tricky winger took a short corner, exchanged passes but his shot went straight into Naveen Kumar’s arms.
Alexander Romario then saw his shot go over the bar after receiving a cut-back from Sanson Pereira from the left. Muhammad Nemil had a similar effort which missed the target after receiving a pass from Alberto Noguera and running towards goal.
Just before half-time, Faisal got the better of Leander D’Cunha on the left flank but his low cross was blocked by Ivan Gonzalelz.
The second half proved to be an even duller affair with neither side managing a shot on target. FC Goa’s best efforts came through a couple of fizzing low crosses across the box by Leander and Redeem Tlang.
Edu decisive for FC Goa in extra time
Mohammedan started the first period of extra time positively. They had a shot on target as Wayne Vaz’s header from a corner was saved by Naveen in the FC Goa goal.
But it was the FC Goa captain Edu who broke the deadlock in the 105th minute. After Milan fouled Noguera, Edu whipped in the resulting free-kick which evaded everyone before nestling into the far corner of the net.
As the second period of extra time began, the Mohammedan Sporting players seemed to come back out with slumped shoulders. It showed in their game as FC Goa were the ones still creating chances despite being a goal up.
Substitutes Princeton Rebello and Makan Chothe got into promising positions but could not add to FC Goa’s lead. Two minutes before the end, Nikola Stojanovic thought he had equalized with a stinging shot but Naveen produced a superb save.
With this triumph, FC Goa became the first ISL team to win the Durand Cup.