Mumbai City FC are set to take on Mohammedan Sporting in the semifinals of the Durand Cup 2022, after the Islanders defeated Chennaiyin FC in a grueling quarterfinal game. Mumbai City FC emerged as victors from the quarterfinals after defeating fellow Indian Super League side Chennaiyin FC 5-3 after extra time thanks to stellar performances by Greg Stewart and Lallianzuala Chhangte.
The semifinal match against the Black Panthers will be played at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, commonly known as the Saltlake Stadium on Wednesday, September 14 in Kolkata and the semifinal game will kick-off at 6pm IST.
The Islanders put in near flawless performances in the group stages, winning 5-1 and 4-1 against Rajasthan United FC and the Indian Navy respectively. Des Buckingham’s side drew 1-1 with ATK Mohun Bagan in the group stages, and their only defeat came against East Bengal in their final group stage game at the 2022 Durand Cup, which ended 3-4 in favour of the Red and Gold Brigade. The quarterfinal tie against Chennaiyin FC went into extra time where Mumbai City FC emerged victorious in a game full of goals that concluded with the score 5-3 in favour of the Islanders.
Mohammedan Sporting, on the other hand, have been in solid form themselves. In their group stage games at the 2022 Durand Cup they won their first three games against FC Goa, Jamshedpur FC and the Indian Air Force team, 3-1, 3-0 and 2-0 respectively. They drew their last group game against Bengaluru FC 1-1, and went on to comfortably defeat Kerala Blasters in the quarterfinals, 3-0. The Black Panthers have already put in some exemplary performances against Indian Super League teams at the 131st Durand Cup, something the Islanders would be wary of ahead of their semifinal clash.
Addressing media over a virtual press conference ahead of the semifinal clash, Head Coach Des Buckingham spoke about the team’s approach and expectations for the match against Mohammedan Sporting.
“Our approach remains the same regardless of which team we play. Our aim is to try and get better every game and try to continue improving on what we do with and without the ball. I said before the last game, we have done as much as we can and put ourselves in a strong position to approach firstly the Durand Cup and secondly the ISL season in a strong position,” said the Englishman.
He further stated that he is expecting an ‘exciting’ game. “Looking at the way Mohammedan played, they are a joy to watch. They have got clear ways to play football. They have got some very exciting players and I would say the same about us. We’ve already showcased football the way wanted to play last year in the (AFC) Champions League and certainly in this tournament.”
“I think the fans will pack out the stadium. It will be a very exciting game because I am sure Mohammedan (Sporting), the same as us, will be going all out to win the game. It’s a cup game so anything can happen we are aware of that but that’s what I am expecting and hopefully, we do what we want to do and get the result out of it. It won’t be easy it will be a tough game but we are excited about it,” he added.
Meanwhile, Greg Stewart, who struck a remarkable hattrick in the quarterfinal game said, “The last match was a tough one. We know Chennaiyin FC from last season but they are the same as us – they’ve had some changes in the playing group. We made some mistakes along the way but that is a part and parcel of the game. We are in a cup competition, so we just have to get through the tie. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but it’s also about getting better at what we want to do.”
Des Buckingham has confirmed that the Islanders have no injuries or suspensions to report and the full squad, barring Apuia, who is currently training SK Lommel, will be available for selection.
The game will kick off at 6pm IST on the 14th of September 2022 and will be broadcasted on Sports18 1 & Sports18 1 HD and can be streamed online on Voot and JioTV.