Kolkata, Aug 21:
Super-sub V P Suhair struck an extra time brace as Mohun Bagan saw off a gritty challenge from Real Kashmir 3-1 to set up a summit clash with Gokulam Kerala in the 129th Durand Cup here on Wednesday.
Much like the first semifinal in which Gokulam Kerala scripted a stunning turnaround in the second-half stoppage time, Real Kashmir struck the equaliser in the 90+3rd minute to cancel Salva Chamorro’s first half goal and force the match into extra-time.
But it turned out to be a tale of two Keralites in the two thrilling semifinals.
First it was CK Ubaid who produced two stunning saves in the penalty shoot-out to sound death knell for his former side East Bengal.
Next it was former Gokulam Kerala forward Suhair who struck a double in the 93rd and 112nd minutes to seal a final berth in the Asia’s oldest tournament for a record 29th time.
Earlier, Salva Chamorro broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute after captain Gurjinder Kumar took a turn towards his right to set it up with his left foot for the Spaniard to shoot in front of the goal.
But Real Kashmir struck the equaliser in the second-half injury time to cancel Chamorro’s first half goal and force the match into extra-time.
With a minute left in the stoppage time, Real Kashmir captain Loveday Enyinnaya set up the ball from the midfield and it was their Ivorian forward Gnohore Krizo who slotted it home to stun the Mohun Bagan supporters.
But Mohun Bagan did not take long to restore their lead when Suhair, who had come in place of Romario Jesuraj in the 68th minute, showed fine composure to finish it well.
Full credit should also be given to Fran Gonzalez who bisected the loose Real Kashmir defence with a measured pass to Suhair on the right flank.
In the 10th minute of extratime, Fran Morante made a superb goalline save from a well-connected Vicky Meitei shot as Mohun Bagan held on to their lead. (PTI)