Indian football has really come a long way. Aizawl FC, who made their mark in the previous season of the I-League as well as in the Federation Cup, when they knocked out defending champions Bengaluru FC, are in the semifinals of the Durand Cup 2016, one of the oldest football tournaments in the world, in their maiden appearance.
Started in 1888, the Indian football competition has seen the likes of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan as well as former club Mahindra United achieve glory, but never have Aizawl FC or DSK Shivajians, both of whom recently featured in the I-League, won the coveted title. This time around, it could be different.
On Friday, Aizawl FC take on Army Green in their Durand Cup 2016 semifinals, while DSK Shivajians, whose football academy is affiliated with Premier League giants Liverpool, take on Neroca FC in the other game of the day.
Both DSK Shivajians and Aizawl FC topped Group A and Group B respectively in the Durand Cup 2016. Both of them also, coincidentally, finished on ten points -- with three wins, one loss and a draw. Army Green, meanwhile, came in second from Group A with 8 points, while Neroca FC stood second from Group B with 9 points.
The competition in the group stages this time around has been really intense as two of the top football sides from Goa -- Dempo SC and Sporting Clube de Goa -- failed to reach the semis of the competition, after finishing third in their respective groups.
Durand Cup semifinal 1: DSK Shivajians vs Neroca FC is scheduled for a 4 p.m. IST start from the Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi on Sept. 9.
Durand Cup semifinal 1: Aizawl FC vs Army Green is scheduled for a 7:15 p.m. IST start from the Ambedkar Stadium, New Delhi on Sept. 9.
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