News & Features/Late Dudu strike knocks Gaurs out of Hero Super Cup
A makeshift FC Goa side went down to Kingfisher East Bengal 1-0 in a tough encounter at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar in the first-semi final of the Hero Super Cup.
Both sides created a number of chances during the game, but it was former Gaur Dudu Omagbemi who scored the game’s only goal deep into the second half. Katsumi Yusa and Mahmoud Al Amna had a few chances for the Bengal side but Laxmikant Kattimani had an astounding day and kept them at bay for long periods. For the Gaurs, Amey Ranawade, Mandar Rao Dessai, Manvir Singh and Ferran Corominas came close, with the Spanish striker even striking the post from a free-kick. However, a second half red card for Edu Bedia settled things in favour of East Bengal who progress to the finals and will face off against either Bengaluru FC or Mohun Bagan.
It was a good start for East Bengal who put early pressure on the makeshift FC Goa defence. However, the Gaurs stayed calm and did well to ride the pressure, keeping the Bengal side to only two shots from distance. As the half progressed, the Gaurs began to find their feet and strung a few moves together. They created a number of chances but were unable to find the final ball. A lot of the attack came down the right wing through Mandar Rao Dessai but the Goans were unable to find any joy. The first real chance for Goa came in the 17th minute when Amey Ranawade was brought down on the right. Edu Bedia stepped up and curled a fantastic free-kick on to the head of Ali Mohammed whose looping header didn’t dip enough and landed on the roof of the net.
Two minutes later came the first clear cut chance of the match. Katsumi Yusa charged into the box on the left and put in a fantastic low ball across the box towards Mahmoud Al Amna who only had to divert the ball past a hapless Kattimani but couldn’t connect. A further couple of minutes later, Amna’s header forward found the run of Dudu who was clear on goal and shot with his left foot. However, Kattimani did well to get down and stick a leg out to prevent the Nigerian from opening the scoring. The combination of Yusa, Amna and Dudu were finding their stride and the Goan defence was once again under pressure. The Japanese midfielder should have scored once more in the 35th minute when a cut back from the right landed at his feet. His shot was blocked by Ali. A minute later, a missed clearance fell for him once more, this time in a better position on the left. His right footed effort aimed for the far post was palmed away superbly by Kattimani yet again. The Goans were living on the edge while the Bengal side began to show frustration at not being able to open the scoring.
With the half reaching its close, the Gaurs could have taken an unlikely lead through top scorer Coro who tricked his way into the opposition box and released a left footed effort at goal. However, the goalkeeper got a touch to his shot to keep it out. But the tenacious striker got to the ball and attempted to curl it in from a tight angle from the left but the ball ricocheted back into play off the post. It was a close shave for Khalid Jamil’s men who could easily have seen his side go into the break with a deficit of one.
It was the Gaurs who started slightly better in the second period. Edu found Coro with a sublime lobbed pass in the 49th minute. The striker ran on to the ball but his run was cut off well by a Bengal defender. Khalid’s charges could have found themselves ahead in the match in the 54th minute after a superb cross in from the left came his way but he couldn’t get his head on to the ball despite diving forward. The ball was eventually cleared. Goa’s best chance of the match came in the 59th minute when Edu displayed spectacular vision to find the run of Amey Ranawade. The diminutive full back beat the offside trap and found himself one on one with the goalkeeper who reacted beautifully to make the save from the full back.
Katsumi had yet another chance to put his side in front in the 64th minute when a cross from the left fell for the Japanese player who had time and space and hit a fierce shot at Kattimani who made yet another fantastic save to keep his side in it. East Bengal were lucky to not have Samad Ali sent off after a careless tackle on Mandar in the middle of the park. The Gaurs began to find their stride, creating a few chances in the next few minutes but once again their final pass was letting them down. Edu almost got the opener from the Gaurs’ first corner midway through the half but the ball sailed wide of the far post with the goalkeeper beaten. It was Coro who had the next chance of the match after Manvir was fouled just outside the box on the left. Coro stepped up and curled a peach of a free-kick towards the far post that struck the far post and went out of play. East Bengal were very lucky to still be on level terms.
Luck however, was on East Bengal’s side as they found themselves ahead in the 79th minute. Yusa cut in from the left and curled a shot towards Kattimani. Dudu intercepted the ball as Ali Mohammed left it for Kattimani and poked it home to give his side the lead. After going a goal down, frustration got the better of Edu who stuck a leg out and took out an opposition attacker. The referee promptly showed him a second yellow to send him off as the Gaurs would end a second straight game with less than 11 players. With Bengal having the numbers advantage, they began to see more of the ball as the Gaurs tried to keep pace with them in the hope of nicking an equalizer which they almost did in the 90th minute when Gurwinder’s attempted clearance from a cross flew towards his own goal and just flew wide. Thereafter, a superb long ball from substitute Yasir Mohammed found Manvir in the box and the striker trapped the ball and found himself with time and space after a defender’s missed clearance. He, however, couldn’t keep his composure and smashed the ball high from a good position. The Gaurs should have been level. With time almost up, East Bengal kept their calm and held out for a hard fought victory.