The groups and fixtures for the 130th edition of the Durand Cup, Asia's oldest football tournament, were announced on Wednesday. As many as 16 teams across four groups will compete for one of the reputed honours in Indian football to be played in and around Kolkata between September 5- October 3. All the matches till the quarterfinal stage will begin at 3 PM (IST) except the opening match which will begin at 4:15 PM.
The timings of the semifinal and final match are yet to be confirmed. The much-anticipated competition is jointly organised by the Indian Armed Forces and the Government of West Bengal. The draw will see several Indian Super League sides up against I-League teams. Moreover, some of the biggest names of Indian football's premier division will play a few stalwarts of the Durand Cup.
Meanwhile Kolkata giants Mohammedan Sporting Club - the first Indian winners of the Durand Cup - has been drawn into Group A which also has Bengaluru United, the Indian Air Force Football Team, and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The Group A fixture between Indian Air Force Football Team and Mohammedan SC will be the tournament opener.
On the other hand, Group B is being termed as the "Group of Death" as it features several top sides like Indian Super League (ISL) teams FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC, alongside I-League side Sudeva Delhi FC and 2016 Durand Cup winners Army Green Football Team.
In Group C, teams like the Bengaluru Football Club and Kerala Blasters Football Club are drawn. They are plotted against Delhi FC and the Indian Navy football team. This also marks the Durand Cup debut for Kerala Blasters.
The final Group D will see Assam Rifles Football Team and Army Red Football Team meeting Hyderabad FC from the ISL and the reigning Durand Cup and I-League champions, Gokulam Kerala Football Club.
Quarterfinal, Semis and Final
The top two teams from each group would move to the quarterfinals. The two semifinal matches are scheduled for September 27 and 29. The final of the competition is set to be held on October 3.