New Delhi, Sep 16 (IANS) I-League club Mohammedan Sporting marched into the Durand Cup final with a convincing 3-1 win over Mumbai Tigers at the Ambedkar Stadium here Monday.
Sporting had last reached the finals in 1992 but were beaten by JCT. This time though, they would look to right the wrong and secure their second Durand Cup after their win way back in 1940. And judging from their performance here Monday, it would be hard to bet against them.
Samson Ramagawia's deflected free-kick in the third minute gave Sporting the lead early on. Collin Abranches scored his team's second in added time of first half while Antony Soren put the match beyond the Tigers with a 65th minute header. Bikash Jairu scored the consolation goal for Mumbai in the 82nd minute.
Backed by the largest turnout of fans this year, Sporting dominated the match from start to finish and never looked back after scoring their first goal.
Mumbai Tigers to their credit fought hard but created very few chances. Their defending left a lot to be desired as Sporting's attacking trio of Penn Irechukwv Opji, Ajay Singh and substitute Israil Gurung constantly found themselves in acres of space.
Mumbai did hold a high line and that strategy proved to be the downfall.
The Kolkata-based club had most of the possession but as coach Masood Abdul Aziz Bola pointed out, they "should have created more chances". But whatever chances they created, they grasped with both hands which in the end was the difference between the two.
Penn played a key role in midfield. His lob passes were a constant threat and he was also defending like a man possessed.
Bikash, who has seven goals in the tournament, was once again Mumbai's best player. He was the only player to trouble the opposition goalie but this time his midfield failed to create that many chances.
Sporting will play the winners of the second semifinal between ONGC and Indian Navy to be held Tuesday.