132nd Durand Cup: FC Goa, Jamshedpur FC to begin their campaigns against tough opponents
The Indian Super League (ISL) side and former champions FC Goa kick off their campaign in the 132nd Durand Cup against Shillong Lajong, who are fighting to avoid an early exit after losing their first game, in Guwahati’s Indira Gandhi Athletic stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
Guwahati/Kolkata, Aug 7 (IANS) The Indian Super League (ISL) side and former champions FC Goa kick off their campaign in the 132nd Durand Cup against Shillong Lajong, who are fighting to avoid an early exit after losing their first game, in Guwahati’s Indira Gandhi Athletic stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
Also, taking the field on Tuesday will be the Red Miners of Jamshedpur FC in Kolkata’s Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) against Mumbai City FC, fresh after a 3-1 win over Mohammedan Sporting in their opening game on Saturday.
FC Goa wary of Shillong Lajong
Although the 25-member squad announced by FC Goa under head coach Manolo Marquez has enough firepower to dislodge the best in India on their day, the Gaurs will still be wary of a Shillong side that will be desperate to avoid an early exit and who in their opening game defeat to NorthEast United FC, did show signs late in the game of their famous pluck and never-give-up attitude.
“We want to win the Durand Cup and start our league campaign on a strong note. Playing as many games as possible, qualifying for the semi-finals or the finals and so on will benefit us greatly,” Manolo, the master tactician, explained ahead of the match.
Besides Moroccan Noah Sadaoui, the Gaurs will also have exciting young Indian attacking talent like Muhammed Nemil and Devendra Murgaokar to watch out for-two names who have pleasant memories of this tournament.
Lajong on the other hand will hope that the kind of intensity that crept into their game against the Highlanders after the introduction of players like Phrangki Buam, can be maintained from the beginning if they hope to get some points from the match.
Jamshedpur face Mumbai City challenge first-up
A young Jamshedpur FC squad will take on the might of ISL League winner Mumbai City FC in their first game of the tournament. The 27-member squad is here under head coach Steven Dias and with a plethora of local talent. These talents include 22-year-old captain Jitendra Singh, former India U-17 FIFA World Cup player and 23-year-old Sk. Sahil, the former Mohun Bagan midfielder.
The manager, though, was very clear about his expectations from the tournament when he said after a training session on Monday that Durand Cup will be a good experience for his players.
“We are looking forward to the Durand Cup. It's going to be a good experience for the young lads. The whole squad is excited to play with the best teams in the country and with every competitive minute they gain, it provides a great opportunity for them to learn and grow. We will give our best to win against all the teams in our group,” Steven Dias was quoted as saying in a release.
The Islanders under Des Buckingham have an embarrassment of riches and it remains to be seen what combination they go with on Tuesday. Whatever that may be, it will be a baptism by fire for the young Men of Steel.