A late Sahal Abdul Samad goal powers Mohun Bagan Super Giant to the 2023-24 ISL Final

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Sahal Abdul Samad scored the second goal for Mohun Bagan Super Giant

Mohun Bagan Super Giant became the first club to book their place in the final of the 2023-24 Indian Super League season as they overturned a 2-1 deficit to win 3-2 on aggregate after Jason Cummings and Sahal Abdul Samad found the net against Odisha

Mohun Bagan Super Giant head coach Antonio Lopez Habas made two changes to the side that lost 2-1 away from home. Armanduu Sadiku had to sit out of the game after seeing a red card while Abhishek Suryavanshi was relegated to the bench. Jason Cummings and Deepak Tangri replaced the duo in the starting line-up.

Odisha coach Sergio Lobera made two changes to the side that picked up a win in the first leg. Narender Gahlot replaced Carlos Delgado who saw a red card in the second half of the fixture while Diego Mauricio played up front by taking the place of Jerry Mawihmingthanga in a 4-3-3 formation. 

MBSG got their first chance of the contest in the first minute when Petratos swung his cross from the left flank towards the box. Odisha’s Jerry Lalrinzuala made a half clearance that fell kindly towards Jason Cummings but the latter handled the ball inside the box and the linesman raised his flag. 

Odisha’s Ahmed Jahouh made a blunder by passing it straight towards Anirudh Thapa in the final third while trying to build up the play from the back. However, the Moroccan covered up for his mistake by putting up a vital block from the resultant shot in the 2nd minute. 

The Kalinga Warriors got their first chance of the game in the 6th minute when Jahouh swung his corner kick towards Gehlot at the far end, who nodded it towards the path of Mauricio. The Brazilian had his back turned towards his goal but turned swiftly and took a shot which trickled out of play. 

Five minutes later, Odisha nearly broke the deadlock when Amrinder’s goal kick found Roy Krishna at the right flank. The Fijian international hurried past his marker Subhasish Bose and tried to lay it off for Isak Vanlalruatfela at the right flank. However, Anwar Ali stuck out his boot to force a clearance and prevent Isak from tapping it home. 

The game had a steady flow in the first half as MBSG tried to make their way through the middle while Odisha relied on counter-attacks. The Kolkata giants had to resort to cheap fouls in their own half to halt the proceedings of the play but were solid in defense. 

Cummings finally broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute to set the home fans in a frenzy. Liston Colaco through on the left flank played a back pass towards Dimitri Petratos who muscled a shot from a considerable distance. Amrinder dived low to parry the ball away but the rebound fell straight towards Cummings inside the box and the Australian made no mistake in slotting the ball home into an empty net. 

At the half-hour mark, Cummings was in no mood to slow things down when he found himself at the end of a through pass from Petratos on a counter. Despite bodies closing him down, Cummings fired a shot but Amrinder positioned himself perfectly to collect the ball. 

The Mariners registered another shot on target in the 39th minute when Jahouh made a sliding tackle on Cummings but Thapa capitalized on the loose ball. The latter passed it towards his Indian international teammate Liston Colaco on the left flank but his final shot was collected cleanly by Amrinder. 

Two minutes later, Petratos was in the thick of things when his cross found Deepak Tangri but the youngster nodded it wide. Six minutes were added to the first half and Odisha nearly scored the equalizer through Isak as Krishna dribbled past Bose once again and found Isak with a grounded pass this time. The latter angled his shot perfectly to beat MBSG goalkeeper Vishal Kaith but Hector Yuste made a goal-line clearance to keep the home side’s clean sheet intact. 

Jason Cummings celebrates after scoring the first goal for Mohun Bagan Super Giant

Lobera made two changes in the second half with Jerry Mawihmingthanga and Cy Goddard coming on to replace Puitea and Diego Mauricio while Abhishek Suryavanshi replaced Deepak Tangri for the hosts. 

The replacements sparked an offensive intent in Odisha which was missing in the first half but the MBSG defenders stood tall. In the 53rd minute, Colaco set himself free on the counter but his selfish antics prevailed and he aimed for glory despite having plenty of the Green and Maroons shirt to pass. In the end, his shot sailed over the crossbar and Odisha breathed a sigh of relief. 

Odisha’s substitute Jerry took a shot on goal from inside the box one minute later but Kaith collected it cleanly. The action went from one end to the other as Manvir Singh made a lung-bursting run through the right flank but rather than passing the ball towards Cummings who was unmarked in the middle, he took a shot from a tight angle which was saved comfortably by Amrinder. 

Four minutes later, MBSG nearly scored their second goal when Manvir’s cross from the right flank found Thapa who replied with a stooping header. The shot nutmegged Amrinder but it narrowly rolled past the crossbar before trickling out of play. 

In the 62nd minute, Jahouh made another misplaced pass towards Thapa who tried to play a one-two pass with Petratos. The latter’s pass was a bit heavy and Fall shoved him at the edge of the box to prevent a shot. Petratos took the resultant free-kick which sailed narrowly over the frame of the goal. 

Krishna didn’t let MBSG rest on the other end of the pitch as his grounded cross from the right flank almost found Isak again but Manvir tracked back wonderfully to clear the danger in the 70th minute. 

Sahal Abdul Samad replaced Anirudh Thapa in the next minute and that turned out to be the game-changer for MBSG. In his first action after coming in, Jahouh shoved him in the middle of the park but Petratos’ resultant free-kick was poor. 

In the 76th minute, Amey Ranawade crossed the ball towards the middle but Yuste cleared it hastily. Jahouh took a shot after capitalizing on the rebound but it took a deflection off a defender and went out of play. 

Five minutes later, Ranawade surged forward and tried to find Krishna but substitute Dippendu Biswas made a vital clearance to prevent the Fijian from receiving the pass. In the 85th minute, Manvir combined well to find Sahal and made a pass towards Cummings. Rather than taking a shot, Cummings made another pass towards Joni Kauko whose final shot was wide. 

Both sides tried to attack with all guns blazing and prevent the game from going into extra time under humid conditions. In the first minute of additional time, substitute Kiyan Nassiri rattled the woodwork after Mourtada Fall blocked Petratos’ initial shot. 

In the third minute of the extra time, MBSG finally scored the winner after Manvir cut through the right flank. Amrinder came off his line to clear the danger but the ball deflected off his head before ricocheting off Sahal’s body and into the goal. 

The referee soon blew the final whistle as a sold-out crowd in Kolkata erupted in joy. MBSG awaits the fate of the result between Goa and Mumbai City in the second semi-final as they will play the final at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Kirirangan on Saturday.