It’s an all ISL clash in Group B as Jamshedpur FC face FC Goa in a crucial game to stay in the hunt for a spot in the quarter-finals of the 130th Durand Cup onSeptember 17, 2021 at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK).Group B stands at a crucial juncture as both Jamshedpur FC and Army Green are tied at 3 points each with one win and one loss from two games and only a win for Jamshedpur can give them a chance tosecure a spot in the quarter-finals. On the other hand, Army Green will have to lose in the match against Sudeva Delhi FC as they have an advantage in head to head record against Jamshedpur where they defeated the ISL outfit 3-1.Finally, a draw for both Jamshedpur and Army Green will see the latter go through to the knock outs. Speaking before the match Jamshedpur FC Coach, Noel Wilson said, “Goa is surely the strongest opposition this tournament and it makes it even more important for my players to get the experience as well as to know where they stand.” He also added, “It is a unique opportunity for our young boys as at their age, not everyone gets a chance toplay an ISL team.
I hope the youngsters make the most of this opportunity and try to get a good result as well.”FC Goa who sit at the top of Group B with six points from two games will look to keep the winning momentum going as they head into the knockout stage. Speaking on the topic of experimentation in the match against Jamshedpur, FC Goa Coach, Juan Ferrando Fenoll said, “No,we don’t look to experiment too much as this our pre-season preparation and it is the time to work in a certain way. Of course, we will have different plans as we will be playing a different opponent but it isn’t the right time experiments.”He also commented on the opponents for the day and said, “We watched their match against Sudeva and despite having young players they are a very good team. They control the spaces, they work according to plans and are a difficult team to break down. Anyway it is good for us in pre-season because it is important to control the spaces, control moments of the game and in positional attack. I think it is a good time to play against them because surely it will be difficult and I hope we take the best decisionson the pitch.”Further, speaking on the importance off inishing at the top of the group Fenoll said, “We aren’t thinking about whether we finish top of the table or not. For me, it is important that we play according to our plans. Of course, we want to get three points because it is our target as a team all the time. But we shouldn’t forget that most important thing is to play well and then get three points. If we are in the first position after that I am happy.” The winner of Group B will play against the second team from Group C in the third match of the quarter finals at the Mohun Bagan Ground on September 24, 2021.
(With inputs from Pratyusha Mukherjee, a BBC Journalist based in Kolkata)