The defending champions Gokulam Kerala FC are all set to play their first match of the 130th Durand Cup as they go head to head against Army Red in Group D at the Kalyani Stadium on September 12, 2021 from 3:00 PM IST. The match will be streamed LIVE on the addatimes app.
The men from the armed forces have begun their Durand Cup journey on a very strong note defeating Assam Rifles by a massive margin of 4-1. Army Red possess a number of experienced players not only in attack but also in the defence especially in the form of Churchill Brothers Defender Suresh Meitei who was on target for the men in red, in the last encounter.
On the other hand, the defending champions Gokulam Kerala FC who have been on a dream run between 2019-20 is prepping for the season ahead and want to start their Durand Cup campaign on a positive note.
Speaking before the encounter with Army Red, Gokulam Kerala FC Coach, Vincenzo Alberto said, “Army Red is a really good team, especially in the attacking phase but also in defence with Meitei at the heart of their defence. He is one of the best defenders of I-League and they are a really good quality team.”
He also added, “But we also have a good quality team. Though they have an advantage that they have played a game before us. We will try and win this game to ensure that we prepare ourselves to enter the knockout stages.”
He also spoke about the pressure factor and said, “I don’t feel pressure at all. Each game for me is a final. So, it’s important for us to start in the right place. This match is important for us to score the three points and then we take the rest of the tournament game by game.”
Top two teams from each group will qualify for the quarter finals scheduled to kick-off from September 23, 2021.
(With inputs from Pratyusha Mukherjee, a BBC Journalist based in Kolkata)