The Durand Cup final between Kolkata club United SC and Churchill Brothers at the Ambedkar Stadium on Friday promised much but delivered little eventually, the result being decided via a penalty-shootout, the first since 2005, that saw the Goan outfit lifting their third title, after 2007 and 2009 thanks to Yusif Yakubu missing the mark from the spot for the reigning champions.
United SC nearly took the lead in the first minute of the game when Denson Devdas's header from a James Lukram Singh corner came off the horizontal. Chances came thick and fast and Arnab Mondal should have given the purple shirts the lead in the 18th minute. The centre-back's run into the Churchill box was unchecked and he connected with James's corner at the far-post but it was aimed straight at custodian Felix D'Souza who palmed it away.
Churchill moved up through the flanks, with Steven Dias and Jerry Zirsanga troubling the opposing fullbacks but Roberto Silva's absence exposed Churchill's lack of midfield creativity.
Yakubu's 43rd-minute strike from the top of the box was well directed but D'Souza tipped it over, keeping Churchill in the game. Martins's 65th-minute attempt, after chesting Malswamtulunga's lofted delivery from the right before turning past Gouramangi Singh, was well-read by a possessed D'Souza. United SC again had a chance in the 83rd-minute when Martins squared for Yakubu but D'Souza once again came to Churchill's rescue.
Both halves of extra-time threw up little action and the match was to be decided from the spot. While the first four penalty takers converted for both sides, Yakubu's poor final kick down the bottom-left prevented coach Sanjay Sen's men from retaining the laurel.