March 27, 2023



Durand Cup 2021: Mohammedan reach semifinal; defending champions ousted

2 min read

KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club beat defending champions Gokulam Kerala to reach semifinals of the 130th Durand Cup on Thursday at the iconic Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan.

Marcus Joseph scored the only goal of the match against his former employers in the 44th minute which turned out to be the winner.

Mohammedan were pressing high without the ball, trying to put pressure on the Gokulam defence which looked organised and comfortable to dictate the pace of the match and limit the Mohammedan’s options to counterattacks.

Playing out from the back, Andrey Chernyshov’s charges were looking to connect with target-man Macus but Bouba Aminou, at the centre of Gokulam defence, had little trouble defusing the searching long balls and crosses aimed at the Caribbean forward.

By midway through the first period Gokulam were piling on the pressure. Rahim Osumanu and Elvis Chikatara led Gokulam’s offensive efforts but like their opponents, failed to be as lethal as they needed to be in front of goal. Aminou had a goal flagged offside in the 43rd minute.

Inevitably, failing to convert their chances came back to haunt Gokulam as Mohammedan took the lead in the 44th minute when Marcus latched onto a long ball behind the defence and neatly slotted past Rakhist Dagar to give his side the lead going into the breather.

Going into the second-half Mohammedan continued to apply pressure and made some decent runs forward. Gokualm, however, are not a side to give up lightly. The Malabarians kept the intensity high, and the pressure on their opponents as they battled to find a way back into the match.

Although Gokulam remained determined to get back into the game, unfortunately the front line continued to fire off-target while Mohammedan started to establish a comfortable rhythm whenever they found themselves in possession making it tough for their opponents to impose their game.

Mohammedan were also clever throughout, using delaying tactics such as players going down for cramps to ensure the match was of a stop-start nature and prevent Gokulam from finding their rhythm on attack.

The match started to become a little tenser as the clock counted down with Gokulam showing great determination in their pursuit of an equalizer, while Mohammedan remained solid at the back.

Gokulam, to their credit, never gave up but it appeared as if getting on the score sheet just wasn’t to be for the side today with every shot going anywhere but on target. Mohammedan custodian Zothanmawia also made a number of telling saves to ensure his team’s passage to the final, and deservedly adjudged Man of the Match.

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