Kolkata, Aug 21 : Gokulam Kerala FC today sailed into the Durand Cup final
for the first time ousting 16 times winners and city giants Quess East Bengal 3-2 (aggregate 4-3) in the first seminal play at Salt Lake Stadium here on Wednesday. Trailing by an 18th minute goal from Samad Ali Mallck of East Bengal, the visitors rallied brilliantly in the second half and brought parity of the play in the injury time (93rd minute) following a spot kick by captain Marcus Joseph.
EB's stopper back Mehtab Singh during an aerial tussle floored Kerala's forward
Kinsesa in the danger box and the referee awarded the penalty kick after sending the offender out of field. The dramatic draw during the injury time play silenced the home fans and Kerala with renewed energy held the the local side to a level in the extra time play of thirty minutes.
In the penalty shoot out EB's captain Lalrindika shot on post and their striker Jaime Santosh Colado's shot saved by Kerala's goalkeeper Ubaid, who saved two shots during shootout and emerged the darling of the visitors. Now Kelara would meeting winners of the second semifinal match between Mohun Bagan and Real Kashmir, now on progress, in the final on August 24.
It was heart broken exit for East Bengal in the season opening tournament at a time when the Red and Gold was celebrating pre-centenary year for the club. East Bengal drew the first blood through Samad Ali Mallick but sloppy performance in the second half saw the home side gift a penalty in added time and reducing the side to 10-man for some 33 minutes of play in crucial time.
The penalty in the 93rd minute allowing Gokulam Kerala's Joseph Marcus to score the equaliser from the spot. The Malabarians did well to push the match into the penalties, wherein Ubaid pulled off two saves to script an emphatic result for Gokulam Kerala, which sealed its final berth.UNI