Mumbai City beat Mohammedan Sporting 1-0, enter Durand Cup final
A last-gasp goal by Bipin Singh helped Mumbai City FC pip Mohammedan Sporting 1-0 and advance to the Durand Cup final in their maiden appearance here on Wednesday.
It was a tale of missed chances by both the teams and just when the first semifinal was headed for extra-time, Mumbai scored the all-important goal in the 90th minute.
The Black Panthers were last year's runners-up and also have won the trophy twice in 1940 and 2013, while former Indian Super League champions Mumbai made their Durand Cup debut this year.
It was a superb coordination display upfront by the Indian duo of Lallianzuala Chhangte and Bipin Singh after Scottish forward Greg Stewart initiated the move from the midfield.
Chhangte was clear on the goal but he chose to provide a measured left-footed cross from the right to a surging Bipin who just had to tap-in to bring the winner for the Des Buckingham side.
Both teams were at their wasteful best and squandered at least half a dozen chances.
From the Islanders point of view, Mandar Rao Desai and Gurkirat Singh lacked coordination upfront and missed some easy chances.
Playing in front of a strong home crowd of about 15,000, Mohammedan too had their share of opportunities but the likes of Marcus Joseph and Nuriddin Davronov never posed any threat.
The Black and White brigade rattled the Islanders in the first 15 minutes of the game, winning as many as three corners and players like Prtiam Singh and Shaikh Faiaz switching flanks for dangerous moves.
In that period, all the Islanders managed was a free-kick which was wasted by Stewart.
The game evened up at the half-hour mark with Mumbai slowly asserting control.
They forced three corners in about five minutes and from the first one, Mourtada Fall got the first real chance to score but Ndiaye was up to the task at the heart of the Mohammedan defence.
The best chance of the first-half came to Gurkirat when Bipin drove in from the left and sent a cross, but the burly Islanders' forward missed to tap in from close.
Mohammedan began the second half with the same vigour and just five minutes after resumption, the ball fell kindly for Abhash Thapa after a lovely team move involving Marcus and Faiaz, but he failed to test keeper Lachenpa with a horribly mistimed connection.