MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
regular-article-logo Thursday, 18 April 2024

10-man Mohun Bagan reclaim derby swag to lift Durand Cup, hand East Bengal 1-0 defeat

Bagan regained the Durand Cup after a gap of 23 years and also exacted revenge for their Derby loss three weeks back at the same ground

Angshuman Roy Calcutta Published 04.09.23, 10:12 AM
Jubilant Mohun Bagan players celebrate after winning the Durand Cup at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday.

Jubilant Mohun Bagan players celebrate after winning the Durand Cup at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday. Picture by Sanat Kumar Sinha

The moment referee Rahul Gupta blew the final whistle, the Mohun Bagan Super Giant bench rushed onto the ground. The players were celebrating, the stands had taken a green and maroon hue and coach Juan Ferrando, who was making a brisk walk down the sideline throughout the nine-minute injury time, raised his arm in joy.

Armando Sadiku came rushing and lifted his coach. The Spaniard could not stop smiling. Why would he? Mohun Bagan, playing a man down for the last 38 minutes, had just won the Durand Cup beating arch-rivals East Bengal 1-0 at the Salt Lake Stadium on Sunday. It was also his second Durand Cup triumph, having guided FC Goa to the podium in 2021.

ADVERTISEMENT

Across the pitch where Bagan fans were chanting his name, Dimitri Petratos, the man who made the difference with a delightful strike in the 71st minute, was soaking in all the adulations. “Dimiii Dimiii”, the fans’ joy knew no bounds. A beaming Sahal Abdul Samad had the swag of a champion... It was his first major trophy. Anwar Ali, such a picture of confidence in the Bagan defence, hugged goalkeeper Vishal Kaith.

Dimitri Petratos shoots past the East Bengal defence to score for Mohun Bagan

Dimitri Petratos shoots past the East Bengal defence to score for Mohun Bagan Santosh Ghosh

Bagan regained the Durand Cup after a gap of 23 years and also exacted revenge for their Derby loss three weeks back at the same ground. And by the time Jason Cummings, Sadiku, Petratos, Hugo Boumous and the rest were celebrating with the Durand trophies amidst deafening roars of “Mohun Bagan, Mohun Bagan”, the East Bengal stands wore an empty look. Their wait for a first major trophy since the Federation Cup win in September 2012 has been extended.

But in the 61st minute, when Anirudh Thapa was shown the red card for his second bookable offence — his high boot caught Javier Silverio — the East Bengal fans thought their team would make the most of it. Thapa, who is trying his best to adapt to the role as a defensive midfielder under Ferrando, had also made a mistake in the Derby on August 12 which allowed Nandhakumar Sekar to give East Bengal the victory. Derby blues, it seems.

The red card forced Ferrando to tweak the shape. In came Cummings, Glan Martins and Liston Colaco in place of Sadiku, Boumous and Ashique Kurunian.

Two minutes later, keeper Kaith flew to his left to fist away a Cletion Silva attempt and East Bengal sensed this could be their chance to seal the deal. But from the ensuing corner, Bagan showed who is the boss. Off a clearance, Cummings played to Petratos on the right. The No. 9 made a searing run and unleashed a low left-footed volley from outside the box, which beat Prabhusukhan Singh Gill all ends up, and nestled into the far corner. Saul Crespo, who was nearest to Petratos, could have blocked the attempt with his body.

By instinct, Petratos ran towards the stands but realised it was stacked with East Bengal fans. He jumped over the perimeter board and a 100 metre sprint took him to the Bagan fans who were ecstatic. The Salt Lake Stadium was buzzing. Petratos, who was still celebrating, got a yellow card. But nobody was complaining.

East Bengal coach Carles Cuadrat also made three changes but that did not yield the desired result. Anwar, Hector Yestes and substitute Brendan Hamiil ensured Bagan won the trophy for the record 17th time.

Anwar has been the standout player for Bagan in this tournament. A tackle inside the box to stop Naorem Mahesh Singh was top-class, and then he shielded the ball brilliantly to thwart Nandhakumar after a couple of passes had split the Bagan defence wide open.

East Bengal would rue Jordan Elsey’s substitution midway through the first half due to an ankle twist. That disturbed the balance at the back. But there was no denying the fact that the better team, which showed more courage going forward, took home the Durand Cup.

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT