• Thu. Sep 29th, 2022

131st Durand Cup: Matchday 9 Tomorrow’s match preview: Army Red V/s Neroca FC and ATK Mohun Bagan V/s Mumbai City FC

It’s getting more exciting by the day and Matchday 9 of the 131st Durand Cup presents the prospect of two delicious contests both in Imphal and in Kolkata later in the evening. In the first game at the Khuman Lampak in Imphal, the Army Red (ARFT) team go up against Neroca FC (NFC) in a Group C game while in the second, in an all Indian Super League (ISL) Group B clash, ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) encounter Mumbai City FC (MCFC) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) at the Mecca of Indian Football, Kolkata.

Key game in tough group

The match between local favourites Neroca and Army Red is key for both teams from the point of view of knockout qualification. This is both an open and tough group from what has been on display so far. Hyderabad has looked the best but not by much against TRAU. The Reds drew their first game against a good Chennayin side on equal footing and Neroca will be charged up after their derby victory. A win for either of the sides on Wednesday will surely take them a step closer to the quarter-finals.

The Reds displayed immense capability, fight, fitness and skill against Chennayin FC, in a game they could have also won on a another day. They also showed great presence of mind in set-pieces and Neroca will need to be at their very best to put it across them.

The Orange brigade did move the ball well, particularly down the flanks in the derby but their the finishing of their forwards left a lot to be desired. Croatian Petar Sliskovic in particular as well as Anirudh Thapa, looked a bit undercooked and will have to be at their best against the Reds.

Must win for ATKMB against nemesis MCFC

The Group B evening game of Matchday 9 in Kolkata presents the mouth-watering prospect of two top squads of Indian football, ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC, coming face to face at a hallowed turf.

There will be names like Liston Colaco, Vikram Pratap Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan, Bipin Singh, Manvir Singh, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Kiyan Nassiri, Rahul Bheke et all on either side representing the who’s who of Indian football. There will also be top foreign footballers plying their trade in India like Ahmed Jahouh and Hugo Boumous. And as the icing, there is the prospect of a boisterous home crowd already smarting from a first game defeat in the tournament.

If ATKMB lose, which they have done four times in their five previous meetings with their Wednesday opponents having drawn the fifth one, even a win over their arch rivals Emami East Bengal (EEB) in their next outing, might not help them cross the line. Juan Ferrando’s men therefore will be under immense pressure against MCFC.

Mumbai on the other hand picked up a comfortable 4-1 win in their first game against the Indian Navy and looked to have settled down, particularly in the second half to their efficient best. Their young striker Vikram Pratap looked sharp and Chhangte had a super game on the wings. Spaniard Rippol and Moroccan Jahou had decent first shifts in midfield and Scotsman Gary Stewart was also linking up well up front.

Their only reason of worry would be the space offered in defence, particularly in the first-half which led to the Navy goal, to the likes of Colaco, Kiyan and Manvir up front as coming back against ATKMB might not be as easy as it was against the Indian Navy.

All in all, a great contest in the offing for the football fans of the country.

Source: Indian Army
Report- Pratyusha Mukherjee

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