• Mon. May 27th, 2024

Mohun Bagan Super Giant-FC Goa match-up in second semi-final

Former champions FC Goa (FCG) face home-side Mohun Bagan Super Giant (MBSG), in what promises to be a thrilling second semi-final here at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) on August 31, 2023. The match kicks-off at  6.00pm Indian Standard Time (IST).

Both teams have been in rousing form recently and the only advantages that MBSG will have on Thursday evening will be the roaring support of the expected 30,000 plus home fans in the stands and their recent familiarity with the VYBK turf and environment over their opponents.

Both teams have had contrasting paths to the semi-finals. While the Manolo Marquez schooled Gaurs, topped Group D in Guwahati, remaining unbeaten and scoring a whopping 15 goals so far in their campaign, including an impressive 4-1 win over Chennaiyin in the quarters, the Green and Maroons suffered a reverse to Emami East Bengal in the group stages to qualify second from Group A. An equally impressive 3-1 win over Mumbai City FC in their quarter-final, coming on the back of two fluent AFC Cup victories will however have reinstalled belief in the side.

That belief was reflected in MBSG’s newest Australian striker Jason Cummings, when he said after pre-match training, “We are the best team in India. We have the potential to beat any other clubs. We have 7-8 good National team players. Even the foreigners are also working hard to give their best. After defeating Mumbai we got back the much needed confidence. So we are confident again to defeat Goa. Reaching the Durand Cup final will be our first target. That is our main focus now. If we can win a trophy before the ISL and the AFC Cup then it gives extra confidence to the team. We will try to do that.”

With a forward line which boasts of Armando Sadiku, Manvir Singh, Sahal Abdul Samad, besides Cummings and a midfield manned by the likes of Hugo Boumous and Anirudh Thapa among others, MBSG definitely looks like the team to beat this season If on song. In-fact, if local Maidan afficionados are to be believed, MBSGs biggest strength this season has been their bench, which has made them deliver performances across three competitions that they have been part of simultaneously.

The Gaurs also are no pushovers by any stretch of imagination. Manolo Marquez has assembled a talented bunch of footballers and the local Goan flair and passion has also been maintained with the likes of Brandon Fernandez, Rowlin Borges, Devendra Murgaokar, Raynier Fernandes, Seriton Fernandes and Saviour Gama forming an integral part of the squad. The infusion of experienced foreign players like Carl Mchugh and Carlos Martinez and Indian stars like Sandesh Jhingan and Udanta Kumam, has also added loads of efficiency and solidity to the Gaurs side.

Marquez was calm as usual in the pre-game chat opining, “Well, it’s always very good for any team to play in the semi-finals of a prestigious tournament like the Durand Cup. It’s very good for us also, especially as we’ve been facing some top teams. For us, we’ve just started the last part of our pre-season preparations prior to the start of the ISL and we’re happy to play in competitive situations like this right now.”

MBSG coach Juan Ferrando also had words of praise for the Goa side, saying among other things, “Goa is also a balanced and good team as Mumbai. This Goa is much different from last year’s Goa. They have a new Coach. They have good footballers like Noah , Boris , Udanta, Sandesh and Carl McHugh. So we have to give importance to them. We have AFC Cup group matches coming up. So before that playing against

Goa will be a good practice match. We haven’t had a good pre-season so far due to many reasons. So for the team’s best form we have to play more matches. Yes, we beat Mumbai but still a lot of improvement is required in the team. We want to go to the final but without any player’s injury. So for that maybe some changes might happen in the formation.”

 

Whatever formation Ferrando plays he will know on the pitch it is always eleven against eleven and it will always have to be the best available eleven at that point if they have to put it across the Gaurs. A thrilling and thoroughly enjoyable game of football can be surely be expected from two top sides of Indian football.

 

Source: Army Authorities 

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