Bengaluru FC will begin their Durand Cup 2023 campaign on Monday when they take on Indian Air Force in a Group C match at Kolkata’s Kishore Bharati Krirangan after Chennaiyin FC will look to seal a quarter-final berth when they take on Nepal’s Tribhuvan Army at Guwahati in a Group E encounter. 

Bibiano’s Blues look to make a mark

Coach Biniano Fernandes will lead a young Bengaluru FC side in the Durand Cup and the pressure will straight away be on the youngsters as they will have to compete with Gokulam Kerala who are sitting pretty on the top of the group with two wins in two matches. 

With the margin for error almost down to zero, Bengaluru FC will have to produce the goods against the Nepal-based teams to give themselves a string chance of qualifying. 

As defending champions, Bengaluru FC’s youngsters will have big boots to fill as the senior team had great success in cup competitions last season reaching the finals of both Durand Cup and Super Cup while also playing the title clash in the Indian Super League.

“The Durand Cup is a prestigious tournament, and that we are the defending champion gives these players the impetus to go out there and do their best. We’ve had a few weeks of training in Bellary and Bengaluru, and I have seen a certain amount of progress in my time here so far. There are some really talented players in this group and the motivation is to use this opportunity to knock on the doors of the senior team,” said Fernandes ahead of the tournament. 

The Blues’ youth team have been performing well in tournaments over the last few years and there are examples like Roshan Naorem Singh, Sivasakthi Narayanan and Suresh Singh Wangjam of players emerging from the youth sides and becoming a key member of the senior team. 

Bengaluru FC will use the Durand Cup as a chance to give a platform for their young players but with the winning mentality that the club have shown in their ten years of existence, the youngsters will be keen to make a mark, starting from the game against Tribhuvan Army. 

Owen Coyle’s Chennaiyin FC eye quarter-final berth

Chennaiyin FC’s win over Hyderabad FC and the other results that have played out in Group E have put the Super Machans in a very strong position ahead of their match against Tribhuvan Army on Monday. 

A win would secure qualification to the quarter-finals for Owen Coyle’s side who were impressive in their 3-1 win over Hyderabad FC. 

New signings Connor Shields and Jordan Murray got on the scoresheet as the team showed character to bounce back from behind to claim all three points. 

Tribhuvan Army will hardly be pushovers though after they impressed in their opening match against Delhi FC, only missing out on the win thanks to a late equaliser. 

They will be motivated to take on the ISL outfit and would be expected to bring their A game to the table.