Mohammedan Sporting to face IAF in the opener of Durand Cup
New Delhi, August 25, 2021
Mohammedan Sporting Club -- the first Indian winners of the Durand Cup -- will take on Indian Air Force (IAF)in the opening match of the 130th edition of the tournament in Kolkata on September 5.
Sixteen teams, divided into four groups, will battle it out in the 3rd oldest football tournament in the world, to be played in and around Kolkata from September 5 to October 3.
Mohammedan Sporting are in Group A, alongside Bengaluru United, the IAF and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
Group B is virtually a "Group of Death", featuring Indian Super League (ISL) sides FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC, alongside I-League side Sudeva Delhi and 2016 winners Army Green.
Bengaluru Football Club and Kerala Blasters are in Group C, pitting the two ISL sides against Delhi FC and the Indian Navy. For the Blasters, this tournament would also mark their Durand Cup debut.
Group D comprises Assam Rifles, Army Red, Hyderabad FC from the ISL and the reigning Durand Cup and I-League Champions, Gokulam Kerala.
The draw has resulted in multiple enticing Indian Super League (ISL) franchise versus I-League club encounters, and also pitted the biggest names from Indian football's premier division against some of Durand Cup's stalwarts.
The top two from each group would advance to the quarter-finals. The two semi-finals are scheduled for September 27 and 29. The final will take place on October 3.
The Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK), Kalyani Municipality Stadium, and Mohun Bagan Club Ground will serve as the three venues for this year's tournament.
ISL team opening games:
Sept 6: Jamshedpur v Sudeva Delhi
Sept 7: FC Goa v Army Green
Sept 11: Kerala Blasters v Indian Navy
Sept 12: Hyderabad v Assam Rifles
ISL v ISL Face- off:
Sept 15: Bengaluru v Kerala Blasters
Sept 17: Jamshedpur v Goa
Durand Cup is a symbol of India’s football history and culture, and it is Asia’s oldest and the world’s third oldest football tournament,
The inaugural edition happened in Shimla in 1888, when it started off as the Army Cup, open only to the British Indian Army troops in India, but soon opened up to civilian teams.
Named after its founder, Sir Mortimer Durand, Foreign Secretary of British India from 1884 to 1894, the iconic tournament reached its 130th edition in 2021. Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have been the most successful teams, winning the tournament 16 times each.