Mohun Bagan beat Mahindra to make 27th Durand Cup final


New Delhi: A brace from Edeh Chidi saw Mohun Bagan through to the final of the Durand Cup with a 2-1 victory over defending champions Mahindra United here Sunday.

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The Kolkata team thus stayed on course for a record 17th Durand Cup title.

Nigerian striker Chidi was in his elements and struck in both the halves (19th, 76th minutes) as Mohun Bagan made their 27th Durand final and first since 2004. They have won the title 16 times earlier.

Mohammed Rafi (70th) got back Mahindra in the game with his excellent header but poor defending saw the three-time champions from Mumbai bowing out of the tournament.

In Tuesday’s final, Mohun Bagan and I-League champions Churchill Brothers will face each other in a rematch of the IFA Shield final and the Kolkata team will be looking to make amends for the loss two weeks back.

On Sunday, Mohun Bagan and Mahindra showed the desperation to win, playing out a fast game and coming close to score on multiple opportunities.

Mohun Bagan forwards Brazilian Jose Ramirez Barreto and Chidi had an excellent day with winger James Singh keeping them busy with his precise crosses.

Mahindra started with a rapid pace and India international Sushil Kumar got the first chance in the 17th minute but his shot went straight to goalkeeper Sangram Mukherjee. Sushil had a rough day and couldn’t give much support to Rafi upfront.

Two minutes later, Mohun Bagan went ahead after Barreto headed down a James Singh cross in the box and Chidi made a clinical finish taking advantage of the defensive lapse.

As the first half progressed, Mohun Bagan took charge and the Brazilian-Nigerian pair rattled the Mahindra defence. Chidi was again on target in the 32nd minute but his right footer went past inches above the bar.

Mahindra came out with a better game plan in the second-half and played some excellent passing game to keep the pressure on the Kolkata giants.

The Mumbai team nearly got the equaliser but Mukherjee put up an acrobatic save to punch out a Steven Dias cross a minute before the hour mark. Mahindra finally found the equaliser in the 70th minute after Rafi leaped high to nod in a Dias cross that stunned the Mohun Bagan defence.

But the joy was short-lived for Mahindra, as poor defending saw an unmarked Chidi head in a booming flag-kick from James for the winner.