The visiting team has defeated another Kolkata giant, Mohun Bagan, to become the champion in the prestigious Durand Cup. For a team that was founded only two years ago, this is no less than making a mark in the football history of India.
The final match played at Kolkata’s Salt Lake Stadium this evening saw Gokulam going for attack right from the go. In contrast, Mohun Bagan’s defence appeared inconsistent and the players lacked focus.
Thus no wonder, Gokulam’s star striker Marcus Joseph scored the first goal of the match in the 45+1 minute just as the match was to break for half-time.
This came from a penalty shot that was awarded after Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Debjit Majumdar shoved Gokulam’s Henry Kisekka in the penalty box. At half-time, the score stood 1:0 in favour of the visitors.
As the match resumed in the second half, Marcus, who had set a target to score 15 goals in this Durand Cup, intensified the attack on Mohun Bagan. The mariners’ defence was badly struggling in trying to deter his forays.
In the 51st minute, Marcus took the ball right into the mariner’s penalty box and scored the second goal with no defenders around to scuttle his shot.
The scoreboard now read 2:0 and a pall of gloom descended on the Mohun Bagan supporters who had turned up in thousands with the hope of seeing their team become Durand Cup champion.
But for a few brilliant saves by goalie Debjit, the mariner’s would have conceded a few more goals from Marcus and his teammates.
Amidst this, Salvador Perez Martinez suddenly revived Mohun Bagan’s hopes in the 64th minute when he scored the team’s first goal through a header. The fans in the gallery burst in cheers and began shouting for more.
However, Gokulam not only kept up the attacks, but it also boost up the defence as well with its player standing up to the mariner’s attempts like a solid wall. The match went ahead with the score being 2:1 and with every passing minute Mohun Bagan’s heartbeat intensified.
In the 87th minute, Gokulam’s Jestin Geroge was shown a red card for a foul and thus, the team was reduced to a ten-player squad. Mohun Bagan tried to take advantage of this but failed.
At the fag end of the match, Mohun Bagan’s Francisco Gonzalez took a centrepiece shot but hit Gokulam’s Muhammad Irshad and yielded no score.
The mariners made a strong cry demanding a penalty for this but the referee denied. Instead, the referee showed a red card to Francisco Morante for displaying extreme aggression over this from the Mohun Bagan reserve bench.
A few minutes later, the final whistle blew with Gokulam Kerala becoming the champion by 2:1 goal. Marcus shortly failed to meet his target of 15 goals as his tally stood at 11 goals in this Durand Cup and yet has earned the golden boot.