New Delhi: October 17
A nail-biting tie-breaker decided the winner of the Durand cup final where Churchill Brothers defeated Prayag United 5-4 at the Ambedkar Stadium on 15th October.
Defending champions, Prayag United had dominated most of the game but when Yusif Yakubu missed the final shot and Churchill Brothers’ Denzel Franco’s shot got the net, faith of the game was decided.
In the tie-breaker Kayne Vincent, Mohammed Rafique, Bello Rasaq, Malsawntluanga found the target for Prayag while Laalrindika Ralte, MP Zakeer, Bineesh Balan, Anton and Franco were all on target.
Churchill Brothers were playing without three of their star players, Roberto Silva, Henri Arnaud and Bineesh Balan and had hardly shown any spark in the match. Though their goalkeeper Felix Dsouza saved them from more humiliation by giving a brilliant performance during the match.
The score was 0-0 after regulation and added time. Though Prayag should have won the match in regulation time but for the inept performance of their frontline players, especially Joshimar Martins, who spurned chances like a millionaire. Later Prayag coach Sanjay Sen replaced their regular keeper Abhijit Mondal with Somnath Khanra for the tie-breakers, which again did not turned into a fruitful decision.
The first half was dominated by Prayag United who, on three occasions, had a clear sight of goal, but an alert Churchill goalkeeper Felix D’Souza thwarted all the attempts.
The first one was in the opening minute when Lukaram James Singh kept an accurate low centre which Denson Devadas headed. Felix was equal to the task foiling the attempt.
The best chance, however, came in the 18th minute when James’s corner found an unmarked Arnab with an open sight of goal, but his nod wasn’t powerful enough and it also lacked the required angle that would have got United their lead.
The absence of skipper Beto had an adverse effect on Churchill’s performance as they failed to conjure moves and the supply line was cut off as a result.
On one occasion Ndibuisi Opara entered the box with United custodian Abhijit Mondal at his mercy. But Mondal showed nice anticipation as he came out of his charge to save his team.
The profligacy of Josimar Martins upfront was another reason for United not getting the lead. Once Ghanaian ace Yakubu played a nice one-two with James Singh and freed Josimar on the right. But to everyone’s shock, Josimar bungled big time as he shot all over the ball.
Felix again came to his team’s rescue when he tipped over a powerful Yakubu shot with just a minute left for the change of ends.
Now two of the major titles of the Indian football have been captured by Goan clubs as Federation Cup was won by Salgaocar.
(with TOI inputs)
Pic courtesy PTI