After 73 years, Mohammedan Sporting win Durand Cup again
An assist and a brilliant goal by Tolgay Ozbey helped Mohammedan Sporting end a 73-year wait for their second Durand Cup title when they beat ONGC 2-1 at the Ambedkar Stadium here Thursday.
Sporting had wrested the cup way back in 1940 by defeating Warwickshire Regiment. The Kolkata club finished runners-up in 1959 and 1980 to Mohun Bagan and in 1992 to JCT Mills.
Sporting coach Masood Abdul Aziz Bola took a major gamble to bench the star of the tournament Penn Irechukwv and give the Nigerian some rest before the start of the I-League season.
Bola's move paid off as replacement Ozbey played a sterling role in the match. He first turned provider as his cut back in the 35th minute found Antony Soren, who found the net.
Ozbey then blasted a thunderous shot from outside the box in the 44th minute, giving ONGC goalkeeper Bilifang Narzary absolutely no chance.
Lavino Fernandes got ONGC back into the game in the 56th minute.
Asim Hassan's stinging free-kick from 35 yards out was parried away by the Sporting goalkeeper into the path of Lavino, who headed the ball in.
Substitute Kamaluddin Khan had a chance to level the score in injury time but mishit his shot from just six yards away.
Sporting were definitely the better of the two teams, creating way more chances. They could have easily scored three-four goals but lost the plot in front of the goal. Ajay Singh, in particular, had an off-day, missing two one-on-one chances with the goalkeeper.
Israil Gurung, who only played because of the injury suffered by Jerry in the semis, had a tremendous match. He made some excellent runs down the left and sent dangerous crosses, causing mayhem in the ONGC defence.
ONGC too created a few chances but an injured Henry Ezeh failed to make the most of it. Though he troubled Somnath Khara on more than one occasion, Ezeh couldn't get the better of him.
Parwinder Singh in the midfield also had a good game for ONGC. His range of passing was impressive and rarely did he get a pass wrong. However, he got little support from partner Jatin Bisht.
Bisht seemed to have run out of gas. He was substituted in the 83rd minute, something which should have been done much earlier.
(Posted on 19-09-2013)