Mohun Bagan, Sporting Clube in Durand semis
Bagan left it literally till the last minute against Air India before Surajit Bose found the goal.india Updated: Nov 23, 2006 21:45 IST
Kolkata giant Mohun Bagan and Sporting Clube-de-Goa made it to the semifinals of the Osian's Durand Cup football championship after registering identical 1-0 victories at Ambedkar stadium in New Delhi on Thursday.
Bagan left it literally till the last minute against Air India before Surajit Bose found the goal, which helped the team top Group 'I'.
Sporting made it to the last four courtesy a penalty conversion by Macpherlin Dudu in the 36th minute that sent them through at the expense of defending National Football League and Federation Cup champions Mahindra United.
A draw would have been enough for Biswajit Bhattacharya's team and it looked for a long time that he would be satisfied with a point. Bagan were not prepared to risk losing this game, as a 0-1 defeat would have put them in a draw of lots with Mahindras.
The game had several heated moments and referee Ashok Ghosh seemed to lose control of the proceedings at crucial moments.
Bagan relied heavily on Brazilian Jose Ramirez Barreto, but he was marked closely by Air India defenders, who did not hesitate to get physical with him.
The team from Mumbai had only pride to play for, having lost their first two matches in the quarterfinal league and coach Bimal Ghosh put his three foreign recruits on the bench, giving his fringe players a chance to impress.