Chennaiyin FC will be looking to continue their winning momentum in the ongoing Durand Cup 2023 when they take on Delhi FC in their final Group E clash at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Friday.

Owen Coyle's men ensured their place in the quarter-finals of the tournament with a 3-0 victory against Tribhuwan Army with the goals coming from Farukh Choudhary, Rahim Ali and Rafael Crivellaro.

The Marina Machans currently lead the group table with six points. However, defender Aakash Sangwan stated that they are as focused on winning their last group match ahead of the knockout stage as any.

"We take so many positives from our last match as we registered back-to-back victories. On top of that, we kept a clean sheet as well and qualified for the quarter-finals after winning the first two matches already. However, it doesn't change our mentality for the forthcoming clash as we will be going for the win," commented Aakash ahead of the match against Delhi FC.

He added, "I am very excited for the match because you know I have played with most of the players in Delhi FC. I used to represent Minerva back in the day. So, I am very excited to play against all of the Punjabi guys as I have a great bond with them and I want to prove that we are the better team."

The ongoing 132nd edition of the Durand Cup, which is Asia's oldest football competition, includes a total of 24 teams from the ISL, I-League, and the Armed Forces which have been divided into six groups of four teams. The top team from each group and the two best second-placed teams across all six groups will be progressing to the quarter-final.

Bengaluru FC take on Kerala Blasters FC in must-win game

Bengaluru FC take on Kerala Blasters FC in their second Group C game of the 2023 Durand Cup, at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan, in Kolkata, on Friday. The Blue Colts, who began their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Services side Indian Air Force FT, now face the task of getting past a Blasters side who will be keen on getting their first points on the board, having lost 4-3 to Gokulam Kerala FC in their opener last week.

“The young boys put up a good show, one that they can be proud of against a strong and physical team like the Air Force. The next game against the Blasters is another opportunity for the boys to go face some of the best players in the country, and hopefully, get three points in the bag,” said Fernandes, speaking to the media ahead of the fixture.

The two sides have met previously in the Durand Cup, with Bengaluru running out 2-0 winners in the 2021 edition courtesy goals from Leon Augustine and Namgyal Bhutia. Most recently, Roy Krishna and Dimitris Diamantakos scored the goals in a 1-1 draw, when the clubs met in the Hero Super Cup in April.

“This is a new group that’s still learning and improving. In the middle of the park, we are still a work in progress. Even though the boys are performing really well, I have a high standard set for them. This is because I know what they are capable of, and I demand more,” added Fernandes.

Bengaluru will be buoyed by standout performances from Salam Johnson Singh and Edmund Lalrindika in their opening fixture, with the former finding the net on debut. Kerala, meanwhile, had three scorers in their opening fixture with Prabir Das, Adrian Luna and Emmanuel Justine on the scoresheet.

The match against Blasters will be the Blues’ penultimate encounter in the group stages, with a fixture against Gokulam Kerala FC rounding up their Group C duties in the competition. The top-ranked team in each group will progress to the quarterfinals of the competition, with the two best-ranked second-placed teams across the groups.

All matches shall go live on the Sony Television Network and will also be available on the Sony LIV App [OTT].