FC Goa and FC Bengaluru United kicked off their Durand Cup campaign with a win over Army Green and CRPF respectively. The former won the match comfortably with a 2-0 margin while Pedro Manzi opened his account with a goal for his new club.
Whereas, Alberto Noguera and Devendra Murgaokar were the goalscorers for the Gaurs. As a result, the Indian Super League side are now the leader of Group B. On the other hand, United are now in second place after Mohammedan SC thrashed Indian Air Force 4-1 on an opening day.
Goa will next face I-League side Sudeva Delhi on 13th September. Whereas, the I-League 2nd division club from Bengaluru will face the Indian Air Force on the 9th.
Durand Cup : A comfortable win for Goa and a decent win for Bengaluru United
FC Goa named a starting 11 including just one foreigner, Alberto Noguera. Army Green were high on confidence and have created many upsets in Asia’s oldest competition. Anyways, it didn’t take much time for the army team to show their brilliance as they failed to score a long screamer after hitting the woodwork.
However, Goa handled the pressure well from the opponents. Noguera broke the deadlock in the 35th minute easily penetrating through the defence. Three minutes later, Army Green goalie Sarath Narayanan superbly denied a brilliant counterattack. He was later awarded a Man of the Match award despite ending up on the losing side.
The second half also awarded the Army team a lots of golden opportunities but to no avail. Finally, Juan Fernando’s team sealed the victory in the 59th minute as Devendra Murgaokar easily slotted the ball past Narayanan. Goa were more clinical as compared to their opponents and got themselves a well-deserved win in the Durand Cup.
Bengaluru United win in a closely contested match
In the other match, I League 2nd division side Bengaluru United were up to the task with some exciting new signings. It was a cagey affair in the initial few minutes as both sides failed to break the deadlock.
In the first half, it was an even game with both teams slowly building up and bringing the intensity. However, in the second half, Bengaluru had the upper hand and was even more dangerous.
New signing Pedro Manzi was causing a lot of havoc for the opponents and came close to scoring twice but was denied by the post. However, the winning goal finally came in the 63rd minute by Manzi, who slotted the goal past the CRPF goalkeeper after a measured cross from Asraf Mondal.
The opponents were down to 10-men as the goalie got a red card following handling the ball outside the D. However, both teams fought hard and FC Bengaluru United walked away with three points. Sanju Pradhan almost made it 2-0 but the referee disallowed the goal.
After the win, head coach Richard Hood was pleased by the side’s performance. He said,
“We are happy with the three points as that was the target and we hope to pick up nine points and make it through. The conditions are very different in Bengaluru but as professionals, we are used to adjusting to all conditions and have settled down well.”
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