Final Preview: Mohun Bagan lock horns against Gokulam Kerala in the 129th edition of the Durand Cup
For the first time in history, the Durand Cup shifted from Delhi and travelled to Kolkata. The historic tournament is set to host the final match where Mohun Bagan is one step behind from creating history. They first won the Durand Cup in 1953 and last in 2000. If Mohun Bagan manages to win today, they will have a record 17 Durand Titles. However, their opponents from the south, Gokulam Kerala FC is the only team from Kerala since 1997 to play in the prestigious Durand Cup final. Ironically in 1997, FC Kochin from Kerala played against Mohun Bagan and defeated them by a scoreline of 3-1. It is to be seen if history will repeat itself tomorrow or we have a new record made at the VYBK Stadium, Kolkata.
In their last 4 encounters, Gokulam has won a match and drew the other three against Bagan. However, in the Durand Cup, both the teams have won all their matches so far and are waiting for the final match.
MOHUN BAGAN: The Mariners under the guidance of Head Coach Kibu Vicuna has played well in this coveted competition. In their previous match against Real Kashmir, the team dominated thoroughly and played freely to clinch the victory. Ahead of the final, the team is injury-free and looks jubilant. Although, Mohun Bagan will be highly alert of the previous results against Gokulam and their current form.
Manager: Kibu Vicuna
Probable Formation: 4-2-3-1
Debjit Majumder (GK)
Ashutosh Mehta (RB)
Fran Morante (CB)
Gurjinder Kumar (LB)
Joseba Beitia (CDM)
Sheikh Sahil (CDM)
Surabuddin Mollick (CAM)
Nongdamba Naorem (LW)
Alexander Romario Jesuraj (RW)
Salva Chamorro (FW)
- Salva Perez Martinez – More renowned as Salva Chamorro, No. 9, Forward. The Spanish forward played a pivotal role in Bagan’s qualification. Chamorro has scored 2 goals in his opening game of the Durand Cup against Mohammedan SC. He smashed an amazing shot into the net in the semis to break the deadlock for Mohun Bagan in the 42nd minute of the match. Chamorro has 3 goals to his name currently.
- Joseba Beitia – No. 10, Midfielder. The Spanish midfielder is a very important addition to the Mohun Bagan outfit. Beitia scored one goal against ATK and has an assist to his name in this Durand Cup. He played a major role in the semis but was later substituted due to injury concerns.
- VP Suhair – No. 20, Forward. Romario Jesuraj was substituted with Suhair VP at the 68th minute on the semis. After losing the lead at the dying moment, Suhair’s brace ensured Mohun Bagan’s victory in the extra time.
GOKULAM KERALA FC: The Malabarians are renowned as the giant killers in the Indian football circuit, and they have well maintained this tagline. They have had an exceptional campaign so far where they scored 11 goals from 3 matches in the group stages and then went on to clinch a historic victory against the Calcutta giants, East Bengal in the Semi-Final of the prestigious Durand Cup. The squad looks robust with the late addition of Henry Kisseka into the team, who previously plied his trade for Mohun Bagan. Henry has a total of 27 appearances for the Mariners and has scored 11 goals for them. His experience of playing in the Calcutta maidan and for the opposition can be considered as a pivotal point in favour of Gokulam Kerala.
Manager: Fernando Santiago Varela
Probable Formation: 4-4-2
- Ubaid CK (GK)
- Naocha Singh (DF)
- Andre Ettienne (DF)
- Sebastian Thangmuansang (DF)
- Jestin George (DF)
- Mohamed Irshad Thaivalapil (MF)
- Malemngamba Meitei (MF)
- Sebastian Thangmuansang (MF)
- Shibil Muhammed (MF)
- Henry Kisseka (FW)
- Marcus Joseph (FW)
- Marcus Joseph: No. 10, Forward. Marcus Joseph has been a star performer for Gokulam Kerala in this Durand Cup. He has a total of 9 goals to his name from 4 matches. Joseph scored two hat tricks and a brace against Chennaiyin FC, TRAU and Indian Air Force respectively in the group stage fixtures. He also scored the penalty for Gokulam Kerala at the dying moments which equalised the match and extended the semi-finals against East Bengal to extra time. He is the top scorer in the tournament until now.
- Henry Kisseka: No. 31, Forward. Henry played his first match in the Durand Cup in the Semi-Finals. He was ruled out due to an injury. Henry played for Mohun Bagan in the previous season and was released to Gokulam this year. He has made 27 appearances for the Mariners last season and has scored 11 goals for them.
- Malem Meitei: No. 14, Midfielder. Malem joined Gokulam Kerala FC this year. He had a good season with Neroca last year and has also played for Bengaluru FC from 2013-15.
VENUE: VYBK Stadium, Kolkata
TIME: 5:00 PM
BROADCASTING: Star Sports 3 & Hotstar
Author’s Take: We’re set to witness the finals of the 129th edition of the Durand Cup. There’s no doubt we will witness an end to end affair with Mohun Bagan, the home team having a slight edge over their counterparts. However, keeping in mind the last few results and Gokulam’s current form, they have the potential to win the match today!
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