Durand: East Bengal, Mohun Bagan favourites but eyes on Real Kashmir
KOLKATA: East Bengal and Mohun Bagan will be hot favourites to set up the season's first derby in the 129th Durand Cup final, but all eyes will be on trouble-torn Real Kashmir who will look to continue their fairytale run in the competition when the semifinals get underway on Wednesday.
Real Kashmir will take on Mohun Bagan while East Bengal will lock horns with fellow I-League side Gokulam Kerala in the first kick-off of a double header at the Vivekanda Yuba Bharati Krirangan. The summit clash is slated for Saturday.
Real Kashmir did not have a pre-season back home due to volatile political situation in the Valley.
Despite all odds, the David Richardson-coached side reached the semifinals in grand fashion.
In the I-League, the Kashmir side defeated Mohun Bagan 2-1 at the same venue, and the Snow Leopards will look to draw confidence from that win.
In the first semifinal of the day, East Bengal will look to brush aside Gokulam Kerala and reach the final.
But it won't be easy for the Red and Golds as Gokulam Kerala have been in rampaging form having scored maximum goals -- 11 from three matches.
Marcus Joseph has netted eight goals including two hat-tricks.
Alejandro Menendez-coached side will have their task cut out in keeping the Trinidadian 28-year-old forward at bay.