A Game of Strength vs. Youth as Bengaluru FC faces Army Green in the Last Quarter-Final of the 130th Durand Cup
The fourth and final quarter-final of the 130th Durand Cup is all set to unfold as the second team from the armed forces, Army Green will come up against former ISL Champions Bengaluru FC (BFC), at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) on September 25, 2021.
BFC are so far undefeated in this year’s Durand Cup, making their way into the quarter-finals with two wins, one of which included a scintillating comeback against the Indian Navy after trailing by two goals at the end of the first half. BFC won the game 5:3.
Their journey to the knockouts also included one draw which came against the other qualifier from Group C – Delhi FC.
Speaking before the quarter-final, Coach of BFC, Naushad Moosa, commented on their last group stage encounter saying, “Our objective at the moment is to stay humble. In our last group stage match the way we came back in the second half, it’s essential that the team learns from the mistakes that we did in the first half of the match and just forget about the second half. The good thing that came from the match is that the team now believes that if they work hard and stay focussed they can win games and specially play good football.”
He further added, “From the warm-up itself in the last match I could see that players weren’t that focussed. So, it’s very important that as a team we stay focussed from the beginning. Warm-up is one part where you decide whether you win or you lose. You go in the game with a good mind-set which I felt was missing in the first half against Indian Navy. Now, we just have to work on the areas where the Navy team was killing us. They were dominating the mid-field and that’s where we have worked upon and our defence was being exposed. There isn’t any harm in accepting if we aren’t strong enough in one division and we just have to look for solutions. We did that at half-time and it reflected in the result.”
Moosa also commented on their opponents for the day – Army Green and said, “They are more physical in the gameplay. They are really strong and it reflects in their game as far as the fitness level is concerned. We have to be very careful about the speed of the game. It would be the same thing what we got from Indian Navy. I have watched all their games and I have to say that they have improved a lot. So, it will not be an easy match and the team after last game now realises how important it is to stay focussed. I just keep telling them one thing, till 90 minutes the game isn’t over.”
On the other hand, their opponents Army Green have improved game after game. After a 0-2 loss to FC Goa, they defeated Jamshedpur FC 3-1 and then Sudeva Delhi FC 1-0 to make their way into the knockouts.
Speaking ahead of the game, Coach of Army Green, Mileswamy G. Ramachandran said, “Every game is equally important to us and especially when it is the knockout stages. We don’t have any option other than winning. So obviously, it’s going to be really tough. Coming to our preparations, definitely we have worked accordingly and will see how it’s working when go out on the pitch.”
He also praised Bengaluru FC and said, “They are a fantastic side and they have proved accordingly to their brand that they belong here. Young lads with composed and organized play. We will give our best as always.”
The winner of this match will go on to face FC Goa in the second semi-final on September 29, 2021.
(With inputs from Pratyusha Mukherjee, a BBC Journalist based in Kolkata)