Durand Cup : Gokulam and Army Red reach knockouts

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Gokulam Kerala and Army Red qualified to the knockout stages of the Durand Cup 2021. The defending champions set up a goal-fest led by Elvis Chikatara’s hattrick as well as goals from Beneston Baretto, Rahim Osumanu and Sourav K.

Whereas, Army Red pulled off a shock win against Hyderabad FC through two goals from Liton Shil. As a result, Gokulam faces Mohammedan Sporting Club and Army Red will face FC Bengaluru United in the quarter-finals of the Durand Cup. Chikatara becomes the first hat-trick hero in this 130th edition of Asia’s oldest competition.

Gokulam Kerala and Army Red rise to the challenge in the Durand Cup

The defending champions pulled off their best ever performance with a 7-2 win over minnows Assam Rifles. A great display of attacking football and a joy for the new overseas recruits.

Kalyani stadium has been a favourite ground for Gokulam in terms of scoring goals and winning matches. However, unsurprisingly, they ripped apart their opponents and made the scoreline 4-1 towards the end of the first half. Soibam Singh was the lone goalscorer for the regimental side.

Chikatara and Rahim Osumanu were clinical alongside a brace from Beneston Barretto in the first half. Additionally, in the second half, the match got even better for the Malabarians as Chikatara completed his hat-trick.

After Chikatara’s third goal, Sourav scored the seventh goal for his team in the 61st minute. Two minutes later, Samujal Rabha scored another goal for Assam Rifles to decrease the lead.

After a disappointing 2-2 draw with Army Red and a nail-biting 1-0 win against Hyderabad, it was the perfect way to finish as Group D winners. They will face Mohammedan in the quarterfinals on 23rd September.

Hyderabad FC bids farewell after an exciting opportunity provided to the young guns

Hyderabad FC ends their Durand Cup journey with plenty of positives despite two narrow defeats. Pritam Soraisam has been an excellent leader for the young team that played in the competition. The Indian Super League giants would be now focusing on their upcoming 2021-22 season.

However, they were denied by Army Red, who are the second team from Group D to qualify for the playoffs. Thus, Army Red became the second regimental team to play in the quarters after Army Green.

It was a tricky contest and an even match until the 32nd minute when Liton Shil broke the deadlock. The Nizams responded quickly scoring an equalizer within two minutes. Koustub Datta was the goalscorer.

In the second half, the Army side were playing more offensive football and were gifted a lead. Liton scored his second goal of the match. They protected the lead and deservedly registered their place in the playoffs. They will face FC Bengaluru United on 24th September.

Whereas HFC would be shifting on their focus towards the league. Their skipper Joao Victor has joined the senior team who would be playing some preseason friendlies in October. Head coach Manolo Roca has also joined the senior team and would be happy about their young guns. Hyderabad are certainly one of the favourites for the upcoming ISL after acquiring some big names such as Bartholomew Ogbeche, Javi Garcia and so on.

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