In the battle between two former Indian Super League champions, Sivasakthi N put BFC in front in the 11th minute, only for Mumbai City to fight back to claim an equalizer through Apuia Ralte on the half-an-hour mark. But Brazilian defender Alan Costa rose to the occasion, heading home Sunil Chhetri’s corner in the 61st minute to seal the deal for Simon Grayson’s team from Karnataka’s capital.
BFC — who were assimilated in I-League as a corporate team in 2013-2014 season — have gone on to win almost all major domestic titles. But the Durand Cup remained elusive both for the team as well its captain Sunil Chhetri.
𝑳𝒂𝒅𝒊𝒆𝒔 & 𝒈𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒍𝒆𝒎𝒆𝒏, 𝒑𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒚𝒐𝒖 @bengalurufc, 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒎𝒑𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 131𝒔𝒕 𝑰𝒏𝒅𝒊𝒂𝒏𝑶𝒊𝒍 𝑫𝒖𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑪𝒖𝒑! 🏆⚽#MCFCBFC ⚔️… https://t.co/2WQupp6cUk
— Durand Cup (@thedurandcup) 1663511604000
Determined to lay their hands on Asia’s oldest club football trophy, BFC began in the right earnest and Sivasakthi set them on a perfect path, steering clear of Mumbai City’s Senegalese defender Mourtada Fall and beating rival goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa with a delightful chip.
But Des Buckingham’s Mumbai, also seeking the trophy for the first time, responded quickly. BFC custodian Gurpreet Singh somehow managed to block Greg Stewart’s shot and Apuia was at hand to snap up the rebound in the 30th minute.
Although Roy Krishna missed a chance to restore BFC’s lead soon after, Mumbai grew in confidence and finished the half a more confident side.
Captain, Leader, Legend @chetrisunil11 wins his first ever IndianOil Durand Cup and shares his reaction! What a mom… https://t.co/02hOZbQmbu
— Durand Cup (@thedurandcup) 1663514782000
There was no let up in intensity as both teams went for goals in the second half.
Lallianzuala Chhangte, who finished the tournament as top-scorer, failed to beat Gurpreet from a one-on-one situation while Chhetri missed another gilt-edged chance at the other end, seeing his attempt cleared by Lachenpa for a corner.