Bengaluru FC and Sunil Chhetri win their first ever Durand CupSeptember 19, 2022
Bengaluru FC (BFC) and their talismanic captain Sunil Chhetri won their first ever Durand Cup, overcoming Mumbai City FC (MCFC) by the odd goal in an exciting final of the 131st edition of the tournament. For the Blues, Siva Sakthi and Brazilian Alan Costa scored the goals while Apuia bagged the lone goal for MCFC in what was a fine display of end-to-end football.
The Islanders, who got a free-kick in the very first minute of the game, conceded the opener when Bengaluru took an early lead in the 10th minute of the game through a goal by Siva Sakthi. The long ball was delivered from deep in the BFC defense by Jovanovic, which put Mourtada Fall under pressure with Siva on his shoulder. The Senegalese defender was in the end foxed by the bounce and Siva pounced on it with a measured chip over the keeper.
Mumbai equalized with Apuia who tapped home a rebound with ease. The Blues then almost went ahead in the 38th minute, when off a Roshan Singh corner a rebound fell for Roy Krishna and he shot towards goal, but Chhangte brought off a miraculous goal-line save. Vinit Rai then had a chance after being played on by Stewart but shot over from close and the only other notable incident of the half was the match’s first yellow card for Mourtada Fall, the Mumbai captain, who had a forgettable 45-minutes.
The game maintained its intensity in the second. BFC finally got ahead for the second and final time in the game, when Brazilian Alan Costa jumped to net a fine header into the back of the MCFC net from a off a Sunil Chhetri corner aimed at the far post.
MCFC coach Des Buckingham then played his cards, bringing in Mehtab and Ripoll in place of Vinit Rai and Ripoll. The most notable chance for Mumbai came through Spanish midfielder Ripoll in the 77th minute when he went on a solo run from midfield and unleashed a booming drive which beat Gurpreet but struck the left upright and came back.
Captain Sunil Chhetri also had a couple of golden opportunities to score, once in the 69th minute, when his left-footed strike missed the target and then again in the 87th when he was one on one with the keeper, but Lachenpa was up to it and brought off a great save.
With six minutes of time added on, Mumbai did give it one final shot and Greg Stewart came close in the 94th minute, but his effort was also just wide.
The Blues in the end had done enough for a seventh national title win.