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Durand Cup

Durand Cup 2022: Sivasakthi, Lallianzuala lead Team of the Tournament

Published at :September 21, 2022 at 12:14 AM
Modified at :September 23, 2022 at 7:46 PM
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Uttiyo Sarkar

A total of 133 goals were scored in 47 matches in the competition.

The 2022 Durand Cup produced some memorable moments. Bengaluru FC lifted the trophy by defeating Mumbai City FC in the final. The tournament produced some really entertaining, end-to-end contests for fans to enjoy.

The competition acted as a curtain raiser or pre-season tournament and presented a good platform for several players to make a solid impression. The Indian players got some much-needed game time to sharpen themselves up for the upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) or the I-League. The foreign players were also able to use this to improve their fitness levels and adapt to Indian football.

A selected number of players were able to outperform everyone else in the tournament. These players put in a string of solid performances and were prolific in their team’s success. This is Khel Now’s Durand Cup 2022 Team of the Tournament.

Goalkeeper: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (Bengaluru FC)

Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
Gurpreet kept two clean-sheets and conceded just three goals (Courtesy: BFC Media)

The Indian No.1 had his game face on during the Durand Cup and looked very sharp in between the posts for Bengaluru FC. With a relatively new defensive system in front of him, Gurpreet managed things admirably to maintain a sturdy defensive record.

He kept two clean-sheets and only conceded three goals in five appearances. The 30-year-old goalkeeper pulled off some brilliant reflex saves whenever required. He helped his side maintain their stubborn defensive structure and helped them lift the trophy.

Right-Back: Prabir Das (Bengaluru FC)

After joining Bengaluru FC earlier this summer, Prabir Das doesn’t seem to have taken any time to adapt. Despite playing for a non-Kolkata club after a gap of seven years, the right-back has settled into BFC admirably well. He was dependable and efficient for the Blues in the Durand Cup, slotting into the right and left-back roles impressively.

The 28-year-old used his proactive style to keep things tidy at the back. He also added a unique threat going forward, with his crossing ability and overlapping runs always a threat. Das capped off his first tournament with BFC with a trophy - the first of what he’ll hope will be many.

Centre-Back: Shaher Shaheen (Mohammedan SC)

Shaher Shaheen Durand Cup 2022
Shaheen was once again rock solid at the back for Mohammedan SC (Courtesy: Durand Cup Media)

Mohammedan SC kept the I-League’s name shining bright with a pretty solid outing in the Durand Cup. They had the joint-best defensive record in the tournament, conceding just three goals in six games.

Their defensive leader Shaher Shaheen played a major part in that. The Syrian centre-back was a commanding figure at the back, ensuring his teammates maintain a tight defensive line and came up with crunching challenges. He put in a string of solid outings for the Black Panthers, helping them keep three clean-sheets in the tournament.

Centre-Back: Melroy Assisi (Rajasthan United)

Rajasthan United’s journey in the Durand Cup 2022 is already one of the stories of the season. Put in the same group as Mumbai City FC, ATK Mohun Bagan and East Bengal – they were perceived as the whipping boys. Instead, they pulled off a remarkable underdog story – finishing second ahead of both Kolkata sides.

Melroy Assisi took upon his club’s never-say-die attitude and played with his heart on his sleeve. The centre-back shut down experienced, prominent attackers from both ATK Mohun Bagan and East Bengal. He acted as a relentless engine, pouncing onto the ball with timely clearances and bullying forwards. Assisi embodied Rajasthan United’s fighting spirit and will definitely be one to watch in the I-League.

Left-Back: Sahil Panwar (Odisha FC)

Sahil Panwar
Sahil played as both right-back and left-back in Durand Cup 2022 (Courtesy: OFC Media)

Sahil Panwar has been able to get his career back on track at Odisha FC and had a pretty good Durand Cup outing. Odisha conceded no goals in the group stages, keeping four clean-sheets and Panwar started all three of them. He was reliable at the back for Josep Gombau’s side, worked hard and was able to neutralize the threat of menacing wingers.

Panwar played in both the left-back and right-back roles, showcasing his versatility to his coach. Odisha were ultimately knocked out in the quarter-finals, but Panwar’s impressive outings should increase his chances of prominently featuring in the ISL this season.

Centre Midfield: Ahmed Jahouh (Mumbai City FC)

The Mumbai City midfield general made the most of his ‘pre-season minutes’ in the Durand Cup. He acted as the go-to man for Des Buckingham’s team, and was heavily involved in all their major wins en route to the final. Jahouh’s proactive presence in the midfield and ability to move the ball forward smoothly helped the Islanders put their opponents under pressure regularly.

He continued creating chances at a consistent rate with his inviting set-pieces, helping keep up the unpredictability over his side. Jahouh wasn’t able to help his side go all the way, but he was definitely one of the best midfielders in the tournament and ran the show for them with ease.

Durand Cup 2022 Team of the Tournament
Durand Cup 2022 Team of the Tournament

Centre Midfield: Hitesh Sharma (Hyderabad FC)

Hitesh Sharma has been one of the most-improved players at Hyderabad FC under Manolo Marquez. After having a really solid ISL season last term, he continued his good work for the Nizams in the Durand Cup. The 24-year-old midfield was an energetic, hard-working player who helped recover possession and progress the ball forward well.

He helped in implementing Marquez’s tactics well, pressing opposition players sharply and helped his side dominate games. Sharma seems to have perfectly adapted at Hyderabad FC and should continue to feature for them regularly in the ISL this season.

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Right-Wing: Lallianzuala Chhangte (Mumbai City FC)

The Golden Boot winner of the 2022 Durand Cup had a tournament to remember. In Buckingham's new system, which didn’t feature a natural striker, Chhangte was given more license and freedom to roam. He took the opportunities perfectly, scoring seven goals in the tournament. He produced some lovely finishes from inside the box and looked more clinical than ever for the Islanders.

Chhangte used his clever movement and natural close control to wriggle into promising areas. He has developed a ruthlessness about him, helping him outscore everyone else in the Durand Cup. He might not have been in the winning team in the final, but Chhangte’s heroics show that he might be in line to have a special season in the ISL.

Attacking Midfield: Greg Stewart (Mumbai City FC)

Greg Stewart Durand Cup 2022 Gold Ball
Greg Stewart won the Durand Cup 2022 Golden Ball (Courtesy: Durand Cup Media)

Greg Stewart proved why Mumbai City FC worked so hard to sign him this season. He was deployed as their most attacking player by Des Buckingham, almost operating in a false #9 role. The witty midfielder adapted to this change admirably well and looked menacing at times.

He scored six goals in as many games for the Islanders. That included a hat-trick in the 5-3 win over Chennaiyin FC in the quarter-finals - the only player to score three in a game in the tournament. He also won the Golden Ball award.

Left-Wing: Jerry Mawihmingthanga (Odisha FC)

Another shining figure for Odisha FC in the Durand Cup 2022 was winger Jerry Mawihmingthanga. The exciting winger made the most of his appearances in the tournament and looked in sharp form. He scored three times in four appearances, and also helped set up some for his teammates.

Jerry seems to be fitting perfectly into Gombau’s system, which gives him more freedom to venture into threatening areas. He used his movement, pace and incisiveness to trouble opponents and got some important minutes under his belt.

Centre Forward: Sivasakthi Narayanan (Bengaluru FC)

Sivasakthi scored the opener in the final and ended the tournament as BFC's top scorer (Courtesy: Durand Cup Media)

After making his breakthrough at Bengaluru FC at the 2021 Durand Cup, Sivasakthi Narayanan further improved his reputation in the 2022 edition. After scoring three goals in the last edition, he added more goals to his tally this time around. The young forward was given the freedom to play in a centre-forward role and showcased his ruthless traits well. Sivasakthi scored five goals in the Durand Cup and was the second highest-scoring Indian player in the tournament.

That included a beautiful strike in the final as well, where he chipped over Mumbai City goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa. Sivasakthi should get regular minutes for the Blues in the ISL and will aim to maintain his good form after the Durand Cup win.




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