The competition bears the name of its founder, Sir Henry Mortimer Durand, who served as British India’s foreign secretary from 1884 to 1894. It originally started as a football competition between various regiments and departments of the Indian and British armies. Numerous clubs from different regiments of the Indian Armed Forces have participated as invited guests to preserve the army’s presence ever since independence. The games were held in Dagshai, close to Shimla, and the first final featured a Scottish team, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, who defeated the Highland Light Infantry by a score of 2-1.
Indian Super League (ISL) side Odisha FC continued its winning streak at the Durand Cup when it defeated the resilient Kerala Blasters 2-0 in the Group D encounter at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium Tuesday. Odisha FC picked up where they left off against NorthEast United FC, as their dominating performance against Kerala Blasters FC secured an easy win. With the win, Odisha FC moved to top the Group D standings with six points from two matches, whereas Kerala Blasters had a single point from a similar number of matches. Odisha FC threatened Kerala Blasters FCs defence with Gerry Mawihmingthanga, but Sachin Sureshs, the goalkeeper, denied the latter’s header. Indian Super League (ISL) giants Bengaluru FC registered a second straight victory in the Durand Cup when they thrashed the Indian Air Force 4-0 at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan (KBK).
At Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Wednesday, Mumbai City FC, the former winner of the Indian Super League, held the 2021 runner-up ATK Mohun Bagan to a 1-1 draw in a league match for Group B of the 131st Durand Cup. Liston Colaco’s fine attempt gave Mohun Bagan the lead late in the first half, but Pereyra Diaz, a Mumbai City replacement, headed in the equaliser late in the second half to bring the match to a 1-1 conclusion. ATK Mohun Bagan only had one point after two games in the group league before the outcome, which hurt their prospects of moving on to the quarterfinals.
In their second Durand Cup Group C match, home favourite Neroca FC and the Army Red Football Team (ARFT) were held to a scoreless draw. After defeating their local rivals TRAU FC 3-1, Neroca entered this match as strong favourites. However, the ARFT players’ strong defensive play prevented the wasteful Neroca team from winning the competition two games in a row. The Army defence played shrewdly in the first half, which prevented Neroca from producing any huge opportunity despite their increased enthusiasm. Neroca began the second half by pushing aggressively after the first one finished scoreless, but they missed their chances to score.