Bengaluru FC and their talismanic captain Sunil Chhetri won their maiden Durand Cup football tournament title after beating Mumbai City FC 2-1 in the summit clash at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday. Sivasakthi Narayanan (10th minute) and Brazilian Alan Costa (61st) scored for the winners while Lalengmawia Ralte (Apuia) got the lone goal for the Mumbai side in an entertaining match.
The Blues took an early lead through a fifth tournament goal from Sivasakthi. The long ball was delivered from the deep by Jovanovic, which put Mourtada Fall under pressure with Siva on his shoulder. The Senegalese defender was in the end foxed by the bounce and Siva pounced on it with a measured chip over the keeper.
After Chhangte had the first chance for the Islanders in the 17th minute, they got the equalizer at the half-hour mark when Sandesh Jhingan gave away a free-kick in a dangerous zone.
Ahmed Jahouh played on Greg Stewart, who went on one of his runs and took a left-footed grounder towards goal which Gurpreet Sandhu fended off. Apuia was at hand though and tapped home the rebound with ease.
The Blues then almost went ahead in the 38th minute, when, off a Roshan Singh corner, a rebound fell for Roy Krishna and he shot towards goal, but Chhangte brought off a miraculous goal-line save.
Vinit Rai then had a chance after being played on by Stewart but shot over from close and the only other notable incident of the half was the match’s first yellow card for Mourtada Fall, the Mumbai captain, who had a forgettable 45 minutes.
The game maintained its intensity in the second half. Five minutes after resumption, Jahouh delivered a measured long ball which fell for Chhangte who did well to get away from two BFC defenders, but with just the keeper to beat, the tournament’s highest scorer shot over.
BFC then got ahead for the second and final time in the game, when off a Sunil Chhetri corner aimed at the far post, Brazilian Alan Costa jumped highest and nailed a header into the back of the Mumbai net.
The most notable chance for Mumbai in the second half came through Spanish midfielder Ripoll in the 77th minute when he went on a solo run from midfield and unleashed a booming drive which beat Gurpreet but struck the left upright and came back.
Chhetri also had a couple of golden opportunities to score, once in the 69th minute, when his left-footed strike missed the target and then again in the 87th when he was one-on-one with the keeper, but Lachenpa was up to it and brought off a great save.
With six minutes of time added on, Mumbai did give it one final shot and Greg Stewart came close in the 94th minute, but his effort was also just wide.