Mohun Bagan Super Giant emerged triumphant with a 3-1 win over Mumbai City FC in the fourth quarter-final clash of the 132nd Durand Cup. The thrilling encounter took place at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) in Kolkata on Sunday.
Early Action and Tactical Setups
The initial moments of the match were characterized by cautious play, with both teams launching attacks and counter-attacks. Juan Ferrando had prepared Mohun Bagan with a distinctive strategy, in contrast to Des Buckingham’s formation for Mumbai City FC. The goal was to disrupt easy passing lanes and create diverse angles for attacking opportunities.
In the seventh minute, a turnover in possession presented Ashique Kuruniyan with the ball. He delivered a defense-splitting pass to Jason Cummings, who was brought down by Phurba Lachenpa inside the penalty box. Cummings confidently converted the resulting penalty to give the ‘Green and Maroon’ a 9th-minute lead.
Shifts in Momentum
Mohun Bagan continued to press, earning a free-kick opportunity when Rahul Bheke fouled Kuruniyan. While Hugo Boumous’ free-kick was initially saved by the keeper, a Mumbai defender swiftly cleared the ball from danger. Mumbai City FC also launched their own attacks, with Bheke attempting a long-range shot in the 20th minute, and Bipin Singh creating a chance for Pereyra Diaz.
In the 28th minute, Diaz found the back of the net for Mumbai City FC, capitalizing on a well-executed play involving Greg Stewart and Alberto Noguera. However, Mohun Bagan responded promptly by regaining the lead. Manvir Singh headed the ball into the net from Hugo’s pass in the 30th minute, making the score 2-1 in favor of Mohun Bagan.
Decisive Moments and Defensive Tactics
The second half saw renewed determination from Mumbai City FC, as Des Buckingham made tactical adjustments, shifting to a back three by introducing Vikram Pratap Singh. Mumbai pressed forward, seeking an equalizer, and earned a free-kick that resulted in a penalty claim, but the referee awarded a goal kick instead.
In the 63rd minute, Mohun Bagan extended their lead to 3-1. Anwar Ali’s powerful header, assisted by Ashique’s precise cross, secured a comfortable advantage for Mohun Bagan.
Mohun Bagan’s defensive-oriented substitutions effectively halted Mumbai’s momentum, leading to fewer scoring opportunities for both sides as the game neared its conclusion.
With this well-deserved victory, Mohun Bagan Super Giant secured their place in the semi-finals of the Durand Cup, where they will face FC Goa. The win marked a significant achievement for Mohun Bagan, as they defeated Mumbai City FC for the first time and progressed in the tournament.
The semi-final clash promises to be an exciting encounter, as FC Goa showcased their prowess by overcoming Chennaiyin FC with a convincing 4-1 victory.