Mohun Bagan Super Giant defeated FC Goa in the Durand Cup 2023 semifinal by 2-1 in Kolkata as they are all set to meet Emami East Bengal in the final on Sunday. Noah Sadaoui's goal gave the lead to FC Goa but Jason Cummings and Armando Sadiku's goal helped the Mariners win the semis.
Mohun Bagan brought two changes with Dimitri Petratos and Ashish Rai coming in for Armando Sadiku and Manvir Singh. Meanwhile, GC Goa remained unchanged in their tussle against the Mariners. The Gaurs started the game well as Victor Rodriguez got the first opportunity to provide a ball to Sandesh Jhingan for a header from a free-kick. Sahal Abdul Samad fouled Victor and giveaway the free-kick in the first three minutes of the game. In the seventh minute, Anwar Ali missed a ball as Noah Sadaoui took the chance to run away with the ball but he shot it away over the bar.
For FC Goa, Brandon Fernandes, Udanta Singh and Noah Sadaoui created all the opportunities while Hugo Boumous and Jason Cummings looked good for Mohun Bagan in the offence. In the 13th minute, Udanta Singh provided a great pass to Brandon who is found off-side otherwise it could have been a great opportunity for the Gaurs. But, on their home turf, Mohun Bagan were not a team to sit back and watch the Gaurs dominate them.
In the 16th minute, Anirudh Thaoa provided a long ball to Ashique Kuruniyan on the left whose diagonal ball nearly found Jason Cummings inside the box. Odei Zabala came to the rescue for FC Goa with a block. Minutes later, the first shot-on-target came from Dimitri as Hugo Boumous first played an undercut pass from the edge of the box to Dimitri whose shot was saved by Dheeraj Singh.
The first goal of the game came from Noah Sadaoui in the 23rd minute as a miss-pass from Hugo Boumous led to the attack. Noah ran with the ball as Mohun Bagan defenders tried to stop him, But, a great shot from just outside the box into the far post past Vishal Kaith. Even after the goal, FC Goa kept their foot on the accelerator was Mohun Bagan found it hard to get the ball. In the 30th minute, Gaurs got another chance with Raynier Fernandes passing a great ball to Noah but Kaith was ready to come out and block the ball.
Post that, Mohun Bagan gained some of the rhythm back with Hugo and Jason creating some opportunities from set pieces. But, Sandesh Jhingan made sure he cleared out all the balls going towards the goal. In the 38th minute, FC Goa received another chance with Brandon finding a great ball from Noah from Suhhasish's lapse. But, Hector Yuste was there to block the chest trap from Victor Romero right before the goal. Soon after that, Mohun Bagan in a counter-attack received a controversial penalty after Jay Gupta fouled Ashique Kuruniyan at the line of the box in the 40th minute. Jason Cummings did not disappoint the Mohun Bagan as he scored his third penalty goal of the tournament in the 41st minute.
The second half started with a shocking change as coach Manuel Marquez brought in Boris Singh to replace captain Brandon Fernandes. After getting settled in, FC Goa in the 55th minute, had a chance via Carl McHugh being on target from outside the box. But, Kaith jumped in the air to make the save. In a surprise change, Juan Fernando took out Hugo Boumous to replace Armando Sadiku. Soon after coming on the field, Sadiku made his mark on the field.
In the 61st minute, Sadiku's brilliant goal gave Mohun Bagan the lead they were looking for. A long-range pass from Asish Rai found Armando Sadiku just outside the box who first did some crisis cross to dodge Sandesh Jhingan and then took the shot for a wonderful goal. FC Goa went for the kill after falling behind. In the 68th minute, Boris Singh missed a header from a Udanta Singh cross. Soon after substitute Rowling Borges' shot nearly went to goal as it missed the goal narrowly. To revamp their attacking lineup, Juan took out Jason Cummings to make way for Manvir Singh in the 69th minute.
In the 74th minute, Rowlin Borges provided another great diagonal ball for Noah Sadaoui but Anwar Ali's interception nearly took the head out of Noah. Four minutes later, Carl McHugh was replaced by Ricardo Pereira for FC Goa to bring some fresh legs in the midfield. In the 81st minute, Jay Gupta's shot narrowly missed the goal as Mohun Bagan's fans nearly had hearts in their mouth. But Mohun Bagan kept on handling the FC Goa attack well as Asish Rai lobbed a great ball to Manvir who first received the ball and made a run into the box before getting blocked by Dheeraj. In the 88th minute, Sahal missed an easy chance to score after receiving a great pass from Armando Sadiku from left.
In the added minutes, Ricardo Pereira's freekick was right there for Jay Gupta to head the ball into the goal. But, it was Vishal Kaith again to rescue Mohun Bagan. Mohun Bagan had some nervous moments in the added time but Subhasish and company were there to keep the score at 2-1.
Mohun Bagan will face East Bengal in the final on Sunday in the second derby of the season.