Kolkata, August 21: Gokulam Kerala FC’s goalie Ubaid CK came up with a scintillating performance to help the Malabarians beat 16-time champion East Bengal FC, 3-2 on penalties, to enter the final of the 129th edition of Durand Cup held here on Wednesday.
Ubaid made two brilliant penalty saves in the shootout after the extra-time ended, 1-1. The goalie, who is from Kannur, saved the penalties taken by Colado and Tondomba Naorem to hand over a well-deserved win against the Kolkata giants.
Earlier, Gokulam Kerala FC captain Marcus Joseph became a savior after he converted a 94 th minute penalty to extend the match into extra-time.
East Bengal FC had the upper-hand in the first half as Samad, Santos, and Bidyashagar constantly raided Gokulam box in search of an opener. Samad was the one to score the opener in the 18th minute as he pounced on a miscued clearance by Irshad to send in a screamer.
The only major chance Gokulam had in the first half was that of Henry Kisekka’s but he missed his target with his header.
In the second half, Malabarians showed a different attitude and it started to pay off. Gokulam coach Fernando Santiago Varela subbed in Brazilian midfielder Bruno in search of an equalizer. His arrival upped the ante of Gokulam attacks as Marcus and Henry started to create more chances.
Finally, the persistence paid off as Mehtab brought down Henry Kisekka in the box. The EB defender was given straight red card and Marcus who took the penalty converted it calmly.
The match then extended into extra-time and Gokulam continued to create several chances. However both the teams were not able to score and the match moved to the penalty shootout. While for Gokulam Kerala, Justin, Bruno, and Lalromawia scored, Malem Meitei’s shot was saved by EB goalie.
For EB, Lalrindka hit the woodwork while Ubaid saved the shots of Santos and TONDOMBA. Only Crespi and Haokip were able to score from the spot for East Bengal FC.
Gokulam Kerala FC faces the winners of the second semifinal at Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on August 24.