The oldest Asian football tournament, Durand Cup is all set to commence its 132nd edition on August 4 wherein Mohun Bagan Super Giant (MBSG) will take on Bangladesh Army FT at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata in the season opener. The tournament will have 43 matches contested amongst 24 teams with the final to be played on September 3.
The 24 teams, increased from 20 the previous year, have been split up into six groups, each with four teams. Games for three of these groups will be played in Kolkata while there will be one group playing in Kokrajhar, Assam, and two groups in Guwahati.
One quarterfinal each will also be held at Guwahati and Kokrajhar, along with the remaining knockout games taking place in Kolkata. Following a 27-year hiatus, the Army teams of Nepal and Bangladesh will be taking part in this year’s competition as foreign teams. Numerous well-known derbies will be part of the Durand Cup. MBSG vs East Bengal FC, one of the greatest football matchups in the world, will feature prominently among them.
Other matches include the Kerala derby between Gokulam Kerala and Kerala Blasters FC. Bengaluru FC vs Gokulam Kerala FC and Hyderabad FC vs Chennaiyin FC are the two southern derbies that will be played. The match between Shillong Lajong and NorthEast United FC will also have a regional flavour.
Bengaluru FC are the defending champions, the unit won the title for the first time in the previous year. Mumbai City FC finished second after losing the final 2-1 at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata, which also stages the final this year.
The Groups for the Durand Cup 2023 are as follows:
|Bangladesh Army FT, East Bengal, Mohun Bagan SG, Punjab FC
|Indian Navy FT, Jamshedpur FC, Mohammedan SC, Mumbai City FC
|Bengaluru FC, Gokulam Kerala FC, Indian Air Force FT, Kerala Blasters
|Downtown Heroes FC, FC Goa, NorthEast United FC, Shillong Lajong
|Chennaiyin FC, Delhi FC, Hyderabad FC, Tribhuwan Army
|Bodoland FC, Indian Army FC, Odisha FC, Rajasthan United FC
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