Gokulam Kerala creates history, wins Durand Cup
Kolkata: Gokulam Kerala FC created history by winning the Durand Cup defeating city giants Mohun Bagan FC 2-1 on Saturday. It is their first national cup.
The joy was extra sweet for Gokulam as it is after a long gap of 22 years that a team from Kerala is winning the Durand Cup. The last Kerala team to win the trophy was FC Kochin in 1997. Incidentally, it was Mohun Bagan who lost the finals back in 1977.
A brace from captain Marcus Joseph helped the surprise package team from Kerala defeat the Bagan who were appearing in the final of Asia's oldest football tournament for an unprecedented 29th time.
Salva Chamorro scored the consolation for Mohun Bagan. Gokulam showed grit to hang on to the narrow lead after going down to 10 men in the 87th minute as Jestin George was show an second yellow card.
Mohun Bagan were hot favourites coming into the match and were backed by the noisy home crowd when they took on Gokulam Kerala FC in the 129th Durand Cup final at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Saturday. In comparison, it was Gokulam’s first shot at the title in their history.
Mohun Bagan got the better of Real Kashmir 3-1 in the extra time in the semi-final to reach the final, their first since 2009 after winning the crown a record 16 times.
Gokulam Kerala stunned East Bengal 3-2 on penalties in the other semi-final after a 1-1 stalemate in the extra time.
Gokulam head coach Fernando Valera had said that it will be a battle of nerves in the clash between two I-League outfits.
"It'll be a battle of nerves what I feel. We had played the game against East Bengal with responsibility. Now, we don't want to lose our focus before the final," Valera had said.
(With inputs from IANS)