Sports News | Durand Cup: Defending Champions FC Goa Face Mohammedan Sporting Test in Opener

Kolkata, 14th August (PTI) – 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.

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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.

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“We all remember that we lost to FC Goa in the last final. That will of course motivate us in this game,” he said in a broadcast.

“But we also understand that this is the opening game of the tournament and is 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, this time directed by Deggie Cardozo, are trying to seize the opportunity to perform on the big stage.

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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 look forward to launching our Durand Cup campaign on Tuesday. They may have done their homework, but so have we, and our focus is all 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’re hoping for that on Tuesday. Playing the game in front of fans gives us extra motivation.”

The Black and White Brigade, on the other hand, has retained the core of last year’s roster, with Trinidadian marksman Marcus Joseph still leading the lines.

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

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Ahead of the game, there will be a short and lively Opening Ceremony featuring bands from the armed forces and the tournament’s theme song performed by star singers Papon and Rewben Mashangwa.

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

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from the Syndicated News feed, LatestLY staff may not have modified or edited the content.)

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