Durand Cup: Defending champions FC Goa face Mohammedan Sporting test in opener

Defending champions FC Goa meet local giants Mohammedan Sporting Club here on Tuesday in the opening match of Group A of the 131st Durand Cup.

Goa FC had won their first Durand Cup title after beating Mohammedan Sporting 1-0 in the top game of the last edition in October last year.

The first game of the tournament kicks off amid preparation that saw a trophy tour of five cities including Guwahati and Imphal, the first two host cities.

The Goan side are full of young talent and Mohammedan Sporting boss Andrey Chernyshov of Russia again stressed the importance of a win to start the season.

“We all remember that we lost to FC Goa in the last final. That will of course give us additional motivation in this match,” he said in a broadcast. “But we also understand that this is the opening game of the tournament and means an added excitement. We have a lot of new players that we want to see in serious games. So it’s very important for us to start the tournament with a win.” The Gaurs, coached by Deggie Cardozo this time, want to take the opportunity to perform on the big stage. The young side is led by Muhammed Nemil, who first caught the eye of Sunil Chetri with a dream goal at the last edition of the Durand. Phrangki Buam and Ayush Chetri also add a lot of solidity to the line-up.

“We are happy to start our Durand Cup campaign on Tuesday. They may have done their homework, but so have we, and we’re totally focused on ourselves and what we can do to get a good result,” Cardozo said.

“It’s important to start the tournament on a positive note, with a good result, and we hope to achieve that on Tuesday. Playing the game in front of a crowd gives us extra motivation.” The Black and White Brigade, on the other hand, have retained the core of last year’s squad, with Trinidadian goalscorer Marcus Joseph still taking the lead. Milan Singh in midfield and Abhishek Ambekar will bring the experience, while the likes of Tajikistan international Nuriddin Davronov will bring in the likely X-factor.

Star singers at the opening ceremony ============================================== ================================================== ================================================== ======================================= Ceremony with armed forces ribbons on display and a performance by the Tournament theme songs by star singers Papon and Rewben Mashangwa.

The ceremony ends with the playing of the FIFA theme song.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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