Kolkata/Kalyani: The prestigious Durand Cup has entered into the knockout stage with the last three group matches ending on Sunday (18 August).
The tournament had kicked off on 2 August and the final is scheduled for 24 August. Prior to this, there will be two semifinals on a single day, i.e. 21 August.
All the three group matches ~ Gokulam Kerala FC versus Trau (Manipur), Chennai City FC versus Army Green, and Chennaiyin FC versus Air Force ~ played on Sunday were dead rubbers. Nevertheless, they turned out to be exciting games.
Trau could score only one goal that came at the fag end of the match in the 88th minute. That was from the boots of M Roger through a penalty.
Unfortunately for the defending champion, it could not hold Chennai City for long. A couple of minutes before the half-time, Mashoor Sheriff scored an equaliser.
The Chennai team struck the second goal when substitute Shem Eugene netted one. Thus, when the final whistle blew, the scoreboard read 2:1 in favour of Chennai City.
Air Force had begun the tournament on a winning note but later on lost with the momentum. Chennaiyin’s previous match got washed out in rain and hence, it was desperate to sign off with a win.
But much to their disappointment, the match ended in a draw with the scoreboard displaying 0:0.
Football crazy Bengal is now waiting for the two semifinals that are on 21 August with the venue being the grand Salt Lake Stadium.
In the first semifinal at 3 pm, Gokulam Kerala FC will face home-giant East Bengal. The second semifinal is at 7.30 pm and it will be witness to a clash between Real Kashmir and another home-giant Mohun Bagan.