Kolkata (West Bengal) [India], September 18 (ANI): Mumbai City FC will take on Bengaluru FC in the final of Durand Cup 2022 at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata on Sunday.
The game will provide both teams with a chance to win the first trophy of a long football season this year.
Bengaluru FC finished runners-up in Group A with wins over Jamshedpur FC and Indian Air Force and draws against FC Goa and Mohammedan SC, and made it through the knockouts with wins over Odisha FC (2-1) and Hyderabad FC (1-0).
The Islanders had a near exemplary group stage, as they won 5-1 and 4-1 against Rajasthan United FC and the Indian Navy respectively. Despite their 1-1 draw with ATK Mohun Bagan in the group stages, and their defeat against East Bengal in a match that ended 4-3 they managed to qualify with top spot in Group B at the 2022 Durand Cup.
Des Buckingham's side won their quarter-final tie against Chennaiyin FC 5-3 in a gripping game that went into extra-time. Their semi-final game against Mohammedan SC saw them earn a hard-fought victory in a game that ended 1-0 in favour of the Islanders.
Bengaluru FC Head Coach Simon Grayson said his side will keep the focus on themselves ahead of a Durand Cup final against Mumbai FC.
"Mumbai are a very good team with strong players who can hurt you in certain areas of the pitch," Grayson said at the pre-match press conference.
"They've got Greg Stewart, who was one of the standout performers in the Hero ISL last year, and some fast players on their flanks. They play a possession-based style of football, so it's a different type of test for us. While we fully respect them and what they can do, we will continue to concentrate on our process and focus on giving them a lot to think about when we are attacking," added Grayson.
In a press conference ahead of the final, Mumbai City FC head coach Des Buckingham said, "The game I'm expecting is an exciting one. We've set up a way that we want to play and I speak about it being an exciting brand of football which is an attack-based, possession-based game. The team has shown that with the number of goals scored in this tournament already. But you look at the opposition and they've had a good run in the tournament and they've got some good players with them too. So I'm expecting a very good and exciting final for everyone involved."
Bengaluru FC have scored 12 goals and conceded five through the course of the tournament, with striker Sivasakthi Narayanan leading their charts with four goals.
Mumbai City, meanwhile, have 19 goals to their name, albeit having conceded ten times in the process. Lallianzuala Chhangte is the Islanders' top scorer with seven goals, followed by Stewart who has six goals to his name. (ANI)