Chennaiyin FC will be aiming to seal its quarterfinal spot in the Durand Cup 2023 when it takes on Tribhuwan Army in a Group E clash at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium on Monday.
A win against Tribhuwan Army will earn Chennaiyin FC direct qualification into the last eight of the tournament. Currently, the Marina Machans sit on top of the group table with three points after a come-from-behind victory against Hyderabad FC in the last match where Jordan Murray scored his first goal for the club.
Murray feels the team needs to continue with their remarkable performance in the forthcoming match against Tribhuwan Army.
“Considering the fact that coach Owen Coyle came into the team fold just recently, we played very well. I thought we put up a really good performance and showed a true fighting spirit after going a goal down against Hyderabad FC. The team sticking together as a group and the players know what they need to do in the upcoming match,” commented Murray.
He further added, “We are in a solid position to go into the next round of the tournament. We will put our heads down, play our best game to ensure we get a strong result and qualify for the next round.”
The ongoing 132nd edition of the Durand Cup, which is Asia’s oldest football competition, includes a total of 24 teams from the ISL, I-League, and the Armed Forces which have been divided into six groups of four teams.
The top team from each group and the two best second-placed teams across all six groups will be progressing to the quarterfinal.
Owen Coyle, the head coach of CFC, feels the next match will see tough competition between both teams and Chennaiyin FC will only aim for a victory to solidify their top position in the group.
“The boys worked very hard in the last match which was really important. We showed great character and belief in what we are trying to do, it’s very early days as we are trying to build and progress day by day, working hard in the training, and looking to take it into the games and the Durand Cup is the ideal preparation for that,” Owen Coyle commented.
“The upcoming match will be a tough one. I watched them (Tribhuwan Army) against Delhi. They are a fit, dynamic, and strong side. We must try to continue to pass and move the ball and score some good goals. We also know that if we win the game, we’ll already win the group even ahead of the third game. So, that’s a great incentive to make sure that we do our job right,” concluded the Head Coach.
Defending champion Bengaluru up against Indian Air Force
Bengaluru FC, the defending Durand Cup champion, announced a 28-member side, comprising mostly young players and new signings, under former under-17 Indian men’s national team coach, Bibiano Fernandes, to defend its crown.
The Indian Air Force Football Team, on the other hand, is under long-time coach Priya Darshan and has a settled core. But it still came up short against Gokulam Kerala in their first game.
For BFC to do well, it will be important that its new signings like keeper Amrit Gope and central defender Shankar Sampingiraj, both recruited from TRAU FC, settle down well as do such talent as Akash Jha, the young striker recruited from Sreenidi Deccan.
The Air Men will also hope that besides the experience of having played a game at the venue already, their seasoned forwards like Mandeep Singh also put their hands up and contribute to a first tournament win.
Coach Priya Darshan exuded confidence on matchday-eve saying, “The players are excited to play against ISL team and defending champions BFC and well prepared to fight and win the game.”
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