Churchill Brothers held their nerve to prevail over Sporting Clube de Goa 3-0 via the penalty shoot-out and set up a title clash with Mahindra United in Osian's 121st Durand Cup football tournament in New Delhi on Friday.
In an all-Goan semi-final, at the floodlit Ambedkar stadium, Churchill's goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya turned hero after both teams failed to score in regulation and extra-time.
Arindam blocked the first two shots in the tie-breaker -- from Sporting Clube de Goa's Bisheshwor Singh and N Singh, while Micky Fernandes sent his shot wide -- to give Emeka Ezugo's team a berth in Sunday's summit clash.
While Sporting Clube's players messed it up from the 'spot', Okolie Odafe, Ogba Kalu and Warun Deep were spot on.
Sunday's final will be a repeat of last year's title showdown.
Mahindra United had beaten JCT 2-1 in the first semi-final on Thursday.
Most of the match was spent with both teams probing each other's defence. Sporting Clube did well to keep Odafe quiet, not allowing him space to manoeuvre. Thounaojam Singh kept a close watch on the Nigerian goal-poacher and the defence, led by Felip Gomes, worked overtime to stop the surging runs of Khantang Paite and Reisangmi Vashum.
Chances were few and far between and most of them came Churchill's way. Odafe, who came in for some nasty tackles, saw his free-kick rattle the woodwork in the 15th minute, while a minute later Vashum sent his shot into orbit after he was released down the left by Ogba Kalu.
In 98th minute, Paite's left-foot volley was palmed away by Sporting Clube goalkeeper Felix D'Souza.
Churchill Brothers suffered a blow when right full-back Ashley Fernandes had to be taken off due to an injury. And in a bid to make things work, coach Emeka Ezugo made a second substitution inside the first session, bringing in Raju Mangang for Jogeshwar Singh.