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Bizarre shootout highlight of drab meet

Substituting the goalkeeper during a penalty shootout is unheard of in world football but the 125th final of the world's third oldest competition, the Durand Cup, was witness to this in Saturday's final. In fact, both finalists Air India and Dodsal FC changed their custodians midway through the shootout.

sports Updated: Sep 03, 2012 01:05 IST
Amoy Ghoshal

Substituting the goalkeeper during a penalty shootout is unheard of in world football but the 125th final of the world's third oldest competition, the Durand Cup, was witness to this in Saturday's final. In fact, both finalists Air India and Dodsal FC changed their custodians midway through the shootout.

It eventually went Air India's way as they won 3-2 in an all-Mumbai match on penalties after a goalless 120 minutes.

"Changing the keeper during a shootout generally doesn't happen as coaches worldwide make the substitution before the end of extra time. However, coaches are well aware of the law and so can easily play around it as it is very difficult for referees to not allow a substitution when the keeper and his team say he is injured," ex-Fifa referee Dhono-poti Roy told HT. The law states: "A goalkeeper who is injured while kicks are being taken from the penalty mark and is unable to continue as goalkeeper maybe replaced.... provided his team has not used the maximum number of substitutes..."

When Dodsal were down 1-2 in the shootout, coach Bimal Ghosh substituted Arup Debnath with Avijit Ghosh who immediately saved Air India goalkeeper Harshad Meher's penalty shot.

Soon after, Air India coach Godfrey Pereira replaced Meher with Sukhwinder Singh, who went on to save Dodsal's fourth and fifth spot-kicks. "We had planned to play Meher for the first three shots only," Pereira said before adding, "He (Meher) got injured." Pereira, a former India international, said he had never seen a shootout where keepers were changed in between.