Two storied football teams of recent years, Bengaluru FC and Mumbai City FC will clash in the Durand Cup final at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Sunday.
The Islanders, winners of the Indian Super League and League Winners Shield in the 2020-21 season, have looked solid in the run-up to the finals. The addition of key players like Senegalese defender Mourtada Fall from the quarter-final stage provides them a more rounded look. They have the highest scorer of the tournament with seven goals in Lallianzuala Chhangte in their ranks and someone of the quality of Greg Stewart marshalling the midfield with authority.
Des Buckingham, coach of Mumbai City, said at the pre-match press conference, “We are here to win the Durand Cup and start the ISL season with more confidence. I am happy with my team till now. I am expecting an exciting match. BFC is a good team they have good players. My message to the team for tomorrow will be enjoy the game.”
Simon Grayson, BFC’s English coach was also respectful of his Sunday opponents and said at the pre-match presser, “Look I think we have to play as a team tomorrow. Mumbai has some very good players. Greg Stewart and others. So, we know what they can do. They play a lot of passes. We have to be good tomorrow to stop the opposition. I think it’s important to win the final and it doesn’t matter in what style we play. We have to be careful tomorrow and make sure we play better. We don’t have any injuries. Our target will be to win the trophy without any injuries. We are in the final and we will make sure that we win the trophy because we have the mentality to win.”
BFC were the ISL 2018-19 champions, but also have six other top domestic titles to their name and will be vying for their seventh. They have presented the most successful striking force of the tournament with talisman Sunil Chhetri, Roy Krishna and Siva Sakthi, all being in goal-scoring form. At the back too, the experience of regular Indian internationals like Sandesh Jhingan and Gurpreet Sandhu have held them in good stead.