MOHAMMEDAN SPORTING REACHED the Durand Cup final for the 6th time in their history, beating FC Bengaluru United in a thrilling 4-2 encounter that went into extra time.
It was Bengaluru United who had the brighter start, with Pedro Manzi scoring one of the fastest goals in the history of Durand Cup, finding the net less than 30 seconds into the match.
But Mohammedan Sporting maintained patience and built up pressure as they pursued a comeback. Within 10 minutes, they had found their equalizer with Marcus Joseph scoring from a very tight angle to bring the Black Panthers back on level terms.
It was Joseph who once again delivered for the hometown favourites, when he set up Faisal Ali inside the box for a quick conversion. After starting from behind, Mohammedan Sporting went into the break with a 2-1 lead.
The second half was a much more cagier affair with Mohammedan looking to defend their lead and Bengaluru United growing increasingly desperate to find their way back into the game. But their consistent efforts paid off 80 minutes in when a corner kick saw Kingshuk Debnath hammer home a shot from close range.
The match was poised 2-2 and looked set to enter extra time, when Pedro Manzi committed a blunder that may have cost FCBU the game. He used his hand to try to receive a long ball in an effort to create a chance inside Mohammedan Sporting's penalty box. As a result, he was sent off by the referee, leaving his team a man short for the added 30 minutes.
Mohammedan Sporting dominanted proceedings from there on. They found their breakthrough 12 minutes into the first half of extra time, through Brandon's calm finish. Then in the last minutes MSC doubled their lead when they got a penalty off a handball, and Nikola duly converted it.
The fans present in the stadium (A rare sight after a prolonged pandemic) cheered on for their favourite team, as the Black Panthers sealed their place in the historic Durand Cup final where they will be seeking to earn their third taste of this prestigious trophy after the two previous triumphs in 1940 and 2013.