East Bengal defeated Northeast United in the penalties after a late goal from Nandha Kumar. At the end of the regulation time, the game was tied by 2-2 and a double miss from Parthiv Gogoi in the penalties saw East Bengal FC go through to the Durand Cup 2023 final. This is East Bengal's first Durand Cup final after 2004. The Red and Gold Brigade will face the winner between FC Goa and Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the final.
"That's very simple. We played three days ago and we are going to play in four days. So you see how the players finish the match. It's preseason, it's already five very tough official games and we need to put some press legs. So, that's the reason. It's an opportunity for them to play a little bit more, to get physical. So, I'm very happy that all the players are involved. Everybody has been given what they have to give to the team and in the end, we get the result. So I'm happy with the team,"
"You know, always football is about narrow margins. So when we score 2-1, then it's all about one difference and it will happen. So, the system will go 3-5-2 to try to put pressure on them. And finally, we get the last three gigs and the chance to score to do so I think that is always the same in football," the East Bengal boss said.
"I told in my first press conference that we want to be difficult to beat and it's happening if you see five official games, the victories by narrow margins and two draws. This was the first time that we were not winning the match. I mean, this was the first time, we were losing the match, 0-1 is difficult. 0-2 is more difficult, but we show that we are that kind of nervous. And I think that what we all know is the difficulty that has been for East Bengal in the last season," he added.
"I'm really happy about it to see the change of dynamic that people start to believe something, and, nothing is done because we know that the Indian Super League is going to be very complicated. We know that the final is going to be very complicated and all the players are very tired. But I can see in the players that change of dynamic that we believe that's the most important thing that you have to arrive to the 98 minutes of the match, believing that something has happened for you. And I think that it was the real turning point that everybody believed that they could," he further added.
"It's, it's an honour to represent East Bengal. During the penalties, I was already imagining those winning moments in my mind that we were going to win it and we were fortunate enough to win it."
The East Bengal shot-stopper, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill was one of the heroes for his team against NorthEast United. He saved a penalty but it was ruled out as he left the goal line before the shot was taken. Parthiv Gogoi still missed the penalty when it was retaken. Gill has been brilliant throughout the competition and when he was questioned about which team he prefers to go against in the final between FCG and MBSG, He said, "Anyone." It clearly shows how confident Carles Cuadrat's side is at the present time.
"I have to be very honest. I think that it was our best match because we were playing good football in the first half. We were managing the game, but in front of us, we had a very good team that had been winning all the games, only one draw, but the rest they were winning, they were scoring goals, and they were confident. So I'm really disappointed with the first goal because it was a set piece, and we have to work on that. We have been talking about that. It was the same in the last match, the second goal was brilliant. I was really upset. We all changed everything because we got it and with the result, they were wasting time."
"It's incredible that the referee didn't show anything to the goalkeeper. They were taking hours to throw, to throw in the inside of the pitch again. So at the moment of the game, honestly, I think that we deserved the goal for us."
"They are attacking, you are attacking, and they score the second one so you get down but you have to try something. We take more risk every time with a defense of four players. We know that it's normal that we take the risk at the moment. But we, we were living in what we were doing and we finally got the goal in the very last moment of the game. So I'm happy with all the experience that the players have been leaving today. It's a learning match for all of them. We have to try to rest a little bit and prepare for the last match of the Durand Cup 2023."