NorthEast United FC are tallying their prowess against East Bengal FC in the first of the semifinals of Durand Cup 2023. Both teams under their new coaches have shown incredible display of resilience and fighting mentality in their group stages to progress through the later stages of this year’s Durand Cup campaign.
NorthEast United are having a dream run under the leadership of Spanish tactician Juan Pedro Benali after a long stint of losing and winless streak for some seasons now. A club which unites eight states of the country is finally having an ecstatic period of advancing to the finale stages of Durand Cup.
They advanced to the knockout stages of the competition being the best second placed team above Mohun Bagan SG. NEUFC have defeated Shillong Lajong and Downtown Heroes in a dominating victory in the group stages and managed to drew with tough FC Goan side which placed them in the second place down FC Goa itself only based on goal difference. NEUFC defeated Indian Army side in the quarter finals to seal their berth in the semifinals of the competition.
East Bengal are now back with a bang with former ISL winning coach Carles Caudrat on the helm becoming another side who managed to progress to the quarter finals being top placed side above defending Hero ISL champions Mohun Bagan Super Giant including an iconic win over the Mariners in the Kolkata derby after a long time. East Bengal also defeated newly promoted ISL side Punjab FC and drew with Bangladesh Army in a four-goal thriller.
The Red and Gold brigade defeated former I-League and Durand Cup champions Gokulam Kerala FC in the quarter finals to advance to the semifinals of the competition. Now that they are one step closer to the epic Durand Cup, it is to be seen how the squad will adapt to the situation in an intense game ahead of them.
Battle of the Midfield
The game will be interesting to watch especially with tough physical and technical battle in the midfield zone for both teams. Northeast United with the likes of Romain Philippoteaux, Phalguni Singh, Pragyan and top exciting forward Parthib Gogoi who scored 4 goals in the campaign including a hatrick against Shillong Lajong will be a task for East Bengal to deal with.
On the flip side, East Bengal is very strong with the Spanish duo of Saul Crespo and Borja Herrera along with the likes of Souvik Chakrabarti, Naorem Mahesh, Nandhakumar Sekar, Suhair VP will be threatening for the Highlanders Brigades to deal.
Probable starting line-up’s
NorthEast United FC XI
Mirshad (GK), Dinesh Singh, Tondomba Singh, Miguel Zabaco, Gourav Bora, Phalguni Singh, Pragyan Gogoi, Romain Philippoteaux, Parthib Gogoi, Redeem Tlang, Jithin MS, Ibson Melo
East Bengal FC XI
Prabhsukhan Gill (GK), Nishu Kumar, Jordan Elsey, Lalchungnunga, Harmanjot Khabra, Saul Crespo, Souvik Chakrabarti, Borja Herrera, Nandha Kumar, Naorem Mahesh, Javier Siverio
The game will be a tough physical battle which will be separated in a not high scoring game and we predict a 1-0 win in favor of East Bengal FC.
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