New Delhi: Tolgay Ozebe was a hugely satisfied man on Thursday. Almost forced to leave Mohun Bagan, where he had an unhappy last season, the Aussie striker began his campaign for Mohammedan Sporting with a bang when his defence splitting display helped the Calcutta team win the Durand Cup after 73 years.
“It’s a great confidence booster for us. This is a fine start to the season,” he said after the match. “We have proved we can win. Winning a knock-out tournament on the eve of the I-League is always a good sign,” added Tolgay, who scored the second goal for his team in the final and assisted in the first.
The Australian, however, was not ready to accept the suggestion that his Thursday’s performance was to prove a point to Mohun Bagan officials, who were indifferent to him during the transfer season.
“Well, the past is past. Don’t equate the two. It is a new team for me and a new beginning. Hope we will be able to continue this show in the future. “Only problem is Luciano’s injury in the final. That’s going to hurt us in the next few I-League matches.”
Sitting back in Calcutta, former Mohammedan Sporting captain Shabir Ali was equally delighted by the Durand Cup success after 73 years. “We have broken a jinx, finally,” said a relieved Shabbir Ali, who had played for Mohammedan Sporting for eight years.
“In the 80’s, we had a crack side and bagged every trophy across the country. Somehow, the Durand Trophy always eluded us. I am happy that these youngsters could bring this trophy home,” added the former India captain.
Coach Abdul Aziz Moshood was delirious. The players lifted him and drenched him with water in jubilation.
“I have to thank the president and all Board members who gave me this opportunity. It’s an honour to guide the team to a victory after 73 years and it is their perseverance of all years (that paid). I respect them for that,” he said.
Not everything was joyful for Mohammedan Sporting as defender Luciano Sabrosa suffered a left-arm injury, which is expected to rule him out of action for at least a month.
“It’s a big blow for us. It is unfortunate that he got a bad injury,” Moshood said. Tolgay also looked worried.
“Luciano would be out for atleast six weeks but good news is Penn will be back for our first (I-League) match. But Luciano’s injury is a terrible thing for us,” the hero signed off.