Thu, 30 Nov 2023

Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], September 19 (ANI): Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri expressed happiness after winning Durand Cup and said that the victory was worth every season of trying "if it meant doing it in the blue of Bengaluru."Bengaluru FC lifted their first-ever Durand Cup title as they beat fellow Indian Super League (ISL) side Mumbai City FC 2-1 in the final at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata on Sunday.

Siva Sakthi and Brazilian Alan Costa scored for the winners while Apuia got the lone goal for MCFC in what was a fine display of end-to-end football.

Chhetri took to Twitter to pen down a heartfelt post and tweeted, "Two decades is a bit of a wait, but if it meant doing it in the blue of Bengaluru, then it was worth every season of trying. Durand Cup Champions - would have been a shame if an Army kid playing football professionally never had the chance to say this. Come on, BFC!"Coming to the match, The Islanders did get a free-kick in the very first minute of the game but it was the Blues who took an early lead in the 10th minute of the game through Siva Sakthi who scored his fifth goal of the tournament.

The long ball was delivered from deep in the BFC defence by Aleksander 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 and scored with a measured chip over the keeper.

Lallianzuala Chhangte then had the first chance for the Islanders in the 17th minute, they got the equaliser 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 grounded shot towards goal which Gurpreet Singh 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 Chhangte pulled off a miraculous goal-line save from a Roy Krishna shot from a Roshan Naorem corner.

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.

The game maintained its intensity in the second half. Five minutes in and 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 Brazilian Costa jumped highest and nailed a header into the back of the MCFC net from a Sunil Chhetri corner. He was subsequently replaced by Parasg Shrivas.

MCFC coach Des Buckingham then played his cards, bringing in Mehtab Singh in place of Vinit Rai. In the 74th minute, he also brought in Gurkirat Singh for Apuia. (ANI)

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