FC Goa and NorthEast United FC find themselves in Group D of the 2023 Durand Cup as the 132nd edition of the tournament kicks off on Thursday, August 3.

The Gaurs and the Highlanders will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing campaign last season and will look to start afresh under their new head coaches. The two Indian Super League (ISL) outfits will be joined by Downtown Heroes FC and Shillong Lajong FC in the group.

NorthEast United FC will once again have the home advantage, providing great support for new head coach Juan Pedro Benali to quickly familiarize himself with the supporters. On the other hand, FC Goa faces high expectations, having appointed the experienced Manolo Marquez as their head coach, and bolstering their squad with prominent figures like Sandesh Jhingan, Udanta Singh, Odei Onaindia, Paulo Retre and more.

Shillong Lajong FC, following promotion from the 2022–23 I-League 2, will also look to test the strength of their squad before they take the field in the I-League. The side, which has always been known for causing upsets against heavyweight teams, will look to repeat the same when they take on FC Goa and NorthEast United FC.

Based in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, Downtown Heroes FC, who participate in I-League 2, are all set to make their debut in the Durand Cup, and this will be a great learning experience for them, who started their journey three years ago in 2020.

Group D

Sr No



Downtown Heroes FC


FC Goa


NorthEast United FC


Shillong Lajong FC

Group D Fixtures

Sr No.






NorthEast United FC vs Shillong Lajong



Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati


FC Goa vs Shillong Lajong



Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati


NorthEast United FC vs FC Goa



Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati


Downtown Heroes FC vs Shillong Lajong



Sports Authority of India (SAI) Stadium, Kokrajhar


FC Goa vs Downtown Heroes FC



Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati


NorthEast United FC vs Downtown Heroes FC



Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati

Talking Points

FC Goa: High expectations are placed on the Gaurs

The Gaurs enter the new season with their sights firmly set on reclaiming their glory days. FC Goa, known for its consistent performance in India's top flight since its inception, has weathered a couple of difficult seasons. However, having learned from past mistakes, they are now determined to achieve a successful season this time around.

With the experienced Manolo Marquez leading the charge, FC Goa is well-positioned to steer through the upcoming challenges. The management has strategically reinforced their squad with some star signings, which include Sandesh Jhingan, Udanta Singh, Odei Onaindia, Paulo Retre, and Carlos Martinez, among others. This blend of promising players, combined with the tactical acumen of head coach Marquez, promises to propel the Gaurs to new heights.

NorthEast United FC: New journey awaits the Highlanders

NorthEast United FC are among the few teams that will enjoy home support in the upcoming Durand Cup. This support will provide an extra boost to head coach Benali as he embarks on his journey in Indian Football with the Highlanders.

After yet another disappointing campaign last season, NEUFC are eager to bounce back stronger than ever. The team has already taken steps to bolster their squad with the acquisitions of talented players such as Nestor Albiach, Ibson Melo, and Michel Zabaco.

With the home advantage and a reinforced lineup, the Highlanders are geared up to make their mark in the new season, and what stage could be better than the Durand Cup?