Sport

Durand Cup kicks off today

KOLKATA: Come Tuesday, the Indian football calendar will officially kick off with the historic Durand Cup bringing together all the top teams of the country in the competitive mode ahead of a grueling league season.

131st edition

The 131st edition of Asia’s oldest and World’s third oldest football tournament has gained importance this time after being “upgraded” as a recognised tournament in the Asian Football Confederation’s list of competitions.

This new aspect has drawn representation from all the 11 Indian Super League (ISL) sides apart from the top five I-League teams (except for holder Gokulam Kerala FC), making the tournament an absorbing season opener.

With most of the sides doing the early season marketing with new recruitments and transfers in the last couple of months, fans will be eager to see how their teams have shaped up for the battles ahead.

20 teams

Joining the top clubs will be the four Services outfits, which takes the total count to 20 teams this time. They will be divided in four groups of five each in the initial group league stage, which will be held in three cities — Kolkata (hosting two groups), Guwahati and Imphal.

The action will move to Kolkata as the lone venue from the quarterfinal stage with the final scheduled on September 18.

The first match will see reigning champion FC Goa taking on local giant Mohammedan Sporting SC, in a repeat of the last year’s final, at the Salt Lake Stadium. The tournament will be inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Bengal, Mamata Banerjee.

Preliminary group league:

A (Kolkata): FC Goa, Mohammedan Sporting, Bengaluru FC, Jamshedpur FC and Indian Air Force.

B (Kolkata): Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, Mumbai City FC, Rajasthan United FC and Indian Navy.

C (Imphal): Hyderabad FC, Chennaiyin FC, NEROCA FC, TRAU FC and Army Red.

D (Guwahati): Kerala Blasters, Odisha FC, NorthEast United FC, Sudeva Delhi FC and Army Green.


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Printable version | Sep 13, 2022 8:37:10 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/durand-cup/article65772599.ece