Three further teams will take the field for the first time on Day 7 of the 132nd IndianOil Durand Cup on Wednesday, 9th August.
While Tribhuvan Army will face Delhi FC, which held Hyderabad to a draw in its first encounter, at the SAI stadium in Kokrajhar, Gokulam Kerala FC and the Indian Air Force Football Team (IAFFT) face off at Kolkata’s Kishore Bharati Krirangan in their opening Group C fixtures.
The Kokrajhar match kicks-off at 2.30pm Indian Standard Time (IST) while the following Group C game in Kolkata is scheduled for a 4.45pm IST kick-off.
Delhi will look to go one better against Tribhuvan Army FC
Delhi FC earned a draw against Hyderabad FC in its first game and will look to go one better against Nepal’s Tribhuvan Army FC, if it has to harbour hopes of progressing into the knockout stages of the tournament.
Coach Surinder Singh reflected the same sentiment in a pre-match chat saying, “We have an eye on securing three points from tomorrow’s game. Last match our team really played well but the result was not in our favour. We have worked on the areas we are lacking in. We will get good result in tomorrow’s game.”
Tribhuvan Army FC, led by its mercurial striker Nawayug Shrestha, who has 36 goals for his club and country over his career, will provide a stiff opposition to Delhi.
Nawayug also shared his feelings before the crucial first game saying, “It’s our honour to participate in Durand Cup. One of the most prestigious tournaments in Asia. I would like to thank the Indian Army for giving us this opportunity to play in this tournament. We want to give our best against Delhi FC in tomorrow’s match.”
Former champions Gokulam up against the Indian Air Force
The 2019 champions, Gokulam Kerala FC, will look to get its campaign off to a positive start against IAFFT, given it’s a tough group with Kerala Blasters, who it plays next in the Kerala Derby. Bengaluru FC is the other team in Group C.
The Indian Air Force team on other hand can be hard to break down, especially in the early-stages of the tournament and have quite a few players who have been part of the national circuit for long.
Master Warrant Officer Priya Darshan, coach of the IAFFT said ahead of the game, “It is an important game for us and we will definitely try to grab three points. Our attacking style of play will be key to victory for us. We have a squad of experienced and young players with the mindset of winning by exhibiting skills and fitness.”
Among those experienced players will be Arashpreet Singh, who won the I-League with Minerva Punjab and also Shibinraj in goal. Prabhjot in midfield is another important player.
For Gokulam, a lot will rest on how its midfield links up with its forward line. The talented Arjun Jayaraj and Shilton Da Silva along with Spaniard Francisco Borges, form the bulwark of that midfield which will look to supply the likes of Naro Hari Shrestha and Noufal P.N upfront.
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