KOKRAJHAR: The final of the 132nd Indian Oil Durand Cup group stages will see Mumbai City FC (MCFC) take on the Indian Navy Football Team (INFT) in their final Group-B fixtures at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) in Kolkata which would be followed by a Group- F game in Kokrajhar’s SAI stadium on Saturday where Odisha FC will clash with local side Bodoland FC in what will also be their respective final group games. Bodoland FC was defeated on Thursday in a tough fight with Indian Army FT at Kokrajhar SAI stadium.
If evidence from their first two games is anything to go by, Des Buckingham’s MCFC will look at nothing less than a win against the Indian Navy team, to confirm top spot in Group- B. Mohammedan Sporting and Jamshedpur play next in the Group and both can reach six points, the same the Islanders have at the moment. In spite of the fact that they have a healthy positive goal difference, Des Buckingham would not like to take any chances.
The Islanders gaffer had said ahead of the game, “Tomorrow will be a continuation of what we’ve done in the two games before this and of course, building on the pre-season friendly game we played in Thailand. For us, it’s about tried to get fitter, sharper and continue to evolve. Firstly, our target is to go as far as we can in this tournament and secondly, to make sure we’re as good and as sharp as we need to be for the first game in the AFC Champions League in September.” What will make matters easier for him will be the fact that the Navy team has so far posed no threat to their opponents and are already out of contention having lost both their opening games. Given the context, Saturday might just see the first team in the tournament to log three wins out of three.
Meanwhile, the evening game in Kokrajhar promises to be more competitive and exciting given both sides are sure to go all out for a win and are a little more evenly matched than the Mumbai-Navy game.
Odisha coach Amit Rana seemed to be sounding the war-bugle when he said a day before the game, “We're prepared for tomorrow and our goal is clear. Our journey continues, and we're ready to make every moment count. Every moment counts as what the players of Bodoland FC will also be looking to do in what has been a historic first ever holding of such a prestigious national tournament in their home. They have looked sharp in both their games and have played direct and one touch football”, he said. They will definitely want to sign-off with a win for their fans, who have been braving inclement weather at times to pack the stands in every game. It is sure to be a treat for the neutrals.