Mumbai City FC reached the final of the 131st Durand Cup, overcoming local giants Mohammedan Sporting 1-0 in the first semifinal, at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata. Bipin Singh got the all-important strike in the final minute of regulation time, courtesy a Lallianzuala Chhangte assist. This will be the Islanders first ever final in Asia’s oldest tournament in their very first appearance.
The Black and White brigade were the better side in the opening 15 minutes, winning as many as three corners in that time, and Prtiam Singh and Sk. Faiaz looking dangerous on either flank.
The game evened up at the half-hour mark with MCFC slowly asserting control.
The Black and Whites also did not let up on their intensity to their credit, despite the pace at which they started, but the best chance of the half came to Gurkirat Singh when Bipin Singh drove in from the left and crossed, but the forward missed to tap-in from close.
In between, the Islanders did loose Amay Ranawade to injury in the 22nd minute and Des Buckingham had to bring in Madar Rao Desai, perhaps a bit earlier than he wanted to.
Mohammedan began the second half with the same vigour and just five minutes in, 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 mistimed connection.
Greg Stewart later played a 1-2 with Gurkirat and broke inside to shoot towards goal, but Zothanmawia in the Sporting goal brought off arguably the save of the tournament to deny the Scotsman.
Just as everyone thought that the match would go to extra-time, Stewart spotted a Chhangte-run on the right flank and the ball to him. The winger dashed inside the box and played square for an onrushing Bipin Singh to tap home in the 90th minute.
Bengaluru FC take on Hyderabad FC in the second semifinal at 18:00 hrs IST on September 15. The match will be live on Sports18 1 SD & HD andSports18 Khel and can be streamed on VOOT.