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02:30 PM Hello and welcome to Khel Now’s live coverage of Durand Cup 2021. In today’s game we have Gokulam Kerala taking on Hyderabad FC. This is Hari Thoyakkat and I will be keeping you company through this fascinating evening of football.

Gokulam Kerala won the last edition of the tournament held in 2019, but started their title defence on a relatively subdued note. Hyderabad FC, on the other hand, are looking fine following their 5-0 win over Assam Rifles.

Gokulam Kerala vs Hyderabad FC: build-up

Speaking before the match Gokulam Kerala FC Coach, Vincenzo Alberto, said, “We didn’t start that well and we didn’t perform that well especially in defence. We need to register better balance and we also left a lot of distance between the striker and the defenders. We are adjusting and we hope that we will perform much better in the next game in both defence and attack.

“We want to ensure that our midfielders can make more penetrative runs to support the attack. We certainly hope that we will be able to do much better.”

He also commented on Hyderabad FC and said, “Hyderabad FC is a good team with a lot of talent and filled with talented youngsters. As I said it completely depended on us and we need to bring more winning mentality while going into the game. We need to play more like Gokulam.”

Hyderabad FC have a host of young talents and they came out all guns blazing in the first match. Speaking before the match Hyderabad FC, Coach, Shameel Chembakath said, “We will be following the same approach but we need to have a more competitive attitude as the opponents are quite strong and they are coming into the battle with well-experienced players. Since we won the first match, a lot has changed in the mindset of our team as they are working hard to ensure we can continue our way. This approach towards the game is very inviting.”

He also added about the opponent Gokulam Kerala FC and said, “They had a slow start in the first match but things won’t be the same next time around. It can change very quickly. It is a tough road ahead for us. Gokulam, being the defending champions, will not be easy to face. But we will try and fight till the end with the same spirit.”

The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Durand Cup quarter-finals scheduled to kick-off from September 23, 2021.

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