Two prominent Indian Super League (ISL) outfits – Mumbai City FC (MCFC) and–Bengaluru FC (BFC) will be battling it out for the first crown of the new football calendar when they meet in the final of the 131st Durand Cup under lights at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Sunday.
The final will see the culmination of more than a months’ engagements that saw a record 20 teams contesting in the initial round before the knock-outs pruned out the competition to have the two of the most consistent outfits reaching the title clash.
Mumbai city FC, the winner of both the ISL title and the League Winners Shield in the 2020-21 season, has gradually warmed up to its current form which saw it overcoming the local favourite, Mohammedan Sporting SC in the semifinals.
The team has been good both in defence and attack where the combination of Scotsman Greg Stewart and Lallianzuala Chhangte fetched it a few good wins.
Chhangte currently is the highest scorer of the tournament with seven goals to his credit.
“We are here to win the Durand Cup and start the ISL season with more confidence and I am happy with my team till now. I am expecting an exciting match as Bengaluru is a strong team with good players in its ranks. My message to the team in the final will be to enjoy the game,” said the Mumbai City FC gaffer Des Buckingham.
Bengaluru FC, which outplayed the reigning ISL champion Hyderabad FC in the semifinals, is also high on confidence with its attacking pair of Sunil Chhetri and Roy Krishna showing good form in the attacking third.
“I think we have to play as a team tomorrow. Mumbai has some very good players like Greg Stewart and others. So, we know what they can do. We don’t have any injuries and our target will be to win the trophy without any injuries,” said Simon Grayson, the English coach in charge of Bengaluru FC, which won the ISL title in the 2018-19 season.
Both Des Buckingham and Simon Grayson should enjoy the luxury of a fully-fit squad in the final barring any last-minute injuries.
Mumbai City FC and Bengaluru FC have faced each other 10 times across all competitions. In those 10, Mumbai City has won five times while Bengaluru FC has won on four occasions. One match has ended in a draw. When it comes to goal tally, Bengaluru is slightly ahead with 17 goals compared to Mumbai’s 16.