MOHAMMEDAN SPORTING CLUB – 1 (Marcus Joseph 44’)
GOKULAM KERALA FC – 0
Local favourites Mohammedan Sporting Club have reached the 130th Durand Cup semi-finals, winning 1-0 to knock out the defending champions Gokulam Kerala in front of a limited capacity home crowd at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK).
Once a Malabarian but now firmly a Black Panther, it was Marcus Joseph who broke Gokulam hearts by scoring the match-winner for Mohammedan in the 44th minute.
Under head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annese, Gokulam have built a reputation for being a free-scoring team. They were the highest goal scorers in the group stage with 10 goals. However against Mohammedan today, their midfield and attack appeared to be toothless.
Chances were few and far in-between, and the deadlock was broken in the 44th minute as a result of a Mohammedan counter-attack. At the other end, Bouba had a goal flagged offside only a minute earlier but as is often the nature of the game, Trinidadian Joseph capped off an excellent move to hand the home side the advantage.
Gokulam did very little to alter the outcome in the second half but with the margin just being one goal, the final few minutes were intense. Mohammedan did enough though, to hold on and reach the 130th Durand Cup semi-finals.
They will now face FC Bengaluru United in their semi-final tie on 27th September at the VYBK. The I-League 2nd division side have received a bye to the last four, after their quarter-final opponents Army Red Football Team pulled out of the tournament owing to Covid cases.
(With inputs from Pratyusha Mukherjee)