Ultimately, 120 minutes of action packed football were decided by Goalkeeper Karanjit Singh, as he pulled off a save of Sunil Chhetri’s second penalty to enable Salgaocar FC overcome Bengaluru FC (5-4) via penalty shootout in the first semi-final of the 127th Durand Cup, played at Raia Panchayat ground, here this morning.
With both the teams failing to break the deadlock after extra time, the game went down to penalties. Salgaocar FC held their nerve to score all the five penalties through Gilbert Oliveira, Rocus Lamare, and substitutes Nicolau Colaco, Drryl Duffy & Zakeer Mundampara, the last named being introduced by coach Derrick Pereira with seconds to go for the final whistle in place of Zambian, Francis Kasonde.
Salgaocar FC’s keeper Karanjit Singh who pulled off a couple of good saves in the regulation time, came to his side’s rescue with an exceptional double save in extra time to keep the Greens in the game. In the shoot-out, his diving save off Sunil Chhetri’s spot kick ultimately proved to be the difference between the two sides and ensure the Greens a passage to their third Durand Cup final.
For Bengaluru FC, Joshua Walker, John Johnson and substitutes K Udanta Singh and Evgeneson Lyngdoh were on target.
Bengaluru FC started well and dominated possession through the game. However, Salgaocar FC were content to allow their opponents pass the ball around and looked to hit them on the counter. Robin Singh came closest to scoring in the first period as his left footer from the inside the box smashed against the upright whilst Bikash Jairu’s left foot scorcher from the top of the box also crashed against the upright in extra-time for Salgaocar FC.
For the Greens, in addition to Karanjit Singh, defender Augustin Fernandes also had an outstanding game and effected yet another unbelievable goal-line save at the very death. For the Blues, Josh Walker took centre stage with his commanding presence in central midfield.
The two-time champions now meet the winners of the second semi-final between Sporting Clube de Goa and Pune FC to be played this evening in the final scheduled for November 8th.