This edition of the competition will feature all the ISL clubs.

This Indian football season will kickoff on August 16 with the Durand Cup 2022. The world’s third-oldest tournament will be played across three cities, namely Kolkata, Guwahati and Imphal.

This will be the first edition of the Durand Cup that will witness all Indian Super League (ISL) clubs participate, alongside five I-League clubs and four teams from the armed forces.  

The fixtures have been released and there are plenty of them to look forward to including derbies, old rivalries and much more.

On that note, here are the top 10 mouthwatering clashes to watch in the Durand Cup 2022.

10. NEROCA FC Vs TRAU FC

The Imphal Derby will be up on display on August 18 at the Khuman Lampak Main Stadium in Imphal. This is a much anticipated fixture from Group C and is expected to live up to its hype.

The Yellow Brigade however have an upper hand against their neighbours. NEROCA FC have won thrice in five matches, while TRAU have won just once. The other game ended in a draw. In the most recent meeting between the two sides, NEROCA emerged with a comfortable 2-0 victory in the I-league.

9. Jamshedpur FC Vs FC Goa

This one’s between two ISL League Winners’ Shield winners. While Jamshedpur FC are the defending champions of India, FC Goa are the defending champions of the Durand Cup. The fixture will be played on August 27 at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan.

Both sides will have new head coaches and new squads going into the competition. Jamshedpur maintain a very fierce relationship with their friends from Goa. Although the Men of Steel managed to complete the double over the Gaurs last season, they’re still behind in the head-to-head record.

In the 10 meetings between the two sides, FC Goa have won five in comparison to Jamshedpur’s four victories. Surprisingly, only one fixture has ended in a draw, which was back in 2019.

8. East Bengal Vs Mumbai City

East Bengal, the joint-most winners of the Durand Cup will battle against Mumbai City, one of the biggest clubs of modern day Indian Football. It is going to be one of the electrifying fixtures of the tournament.

The Red & Gold alongside the Islanders will want to put a disappointing ISL campaign behind themselves. Mumbai seem to have turned on their beast mode and have assembled a team of avengers. 

East Bengal, on the other hand, are currently the talk of the town. They have joined hands with their new investors and have completed the signing of quite a number of domestic players in the last few days

The Kolkata club have neither managed to secure a win or score a goal against the CFG-owned outfit and will want to change that. Mumbai though will take heart from the fact that they have never lost against the Torch Bearers.

7. Jamshedpur FC Vs Bengaluru FC

The battle between the Blues and the Men of Steel is one of the most exciting fixtures of Group A. The Blues have undergone a major revamp with a new coach on board and things are very similar for their counterparts as well.

Jamshedpur FC celebrate after winning the ISL Shield. (Courtesy: ISL Media)

Both sides became a part of India’s top flight league together in 2017 and have won a trophy each since. It will be Jamshedpur FC’s second appearance in the Durand Cup following their participation last year. Bengaluru meanwhile, have been participating in the event since 2019.

Jamshedpur FC are slightly ahead in the head-to-head record with four wins in comparison to BFC’s three. But, Bengaluru FC can take inspiration from the fact that they were the only team in the Indian Super League that did not lose to the champions last season. This one promises to be a blockbuster.

6. NorthEast United Vs Kerala Blasters

Two teams with one of the best fanbases in the country will go up against each other in NorthEast United’s den, Guwahati. The Blasters will face the Highlanders on August 27 at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.

Both sides are expected to field their reserve teams with a few first-team players leading charge. The Blasters finished as the runners-up both in the ISL and the RF Development league. In achieving the latter, the Yellow Army secured qualification for the high-profile Next Gen Cup which was held in the UK. The team ended fourth in the competition.

NorthEast United’s reserve side, on the other hand, emerged as the champions of the GSA C division, courtesy of a dominant display. 

The Highlanders and the Blasters have delivered numerous moments on the pitch and the same will be expected from them in the Durand Cup.

5. Hyderabad FC Vs Chennaiyin FC

The defending ISL winners will go up against the two-time ISL champions Chennaiyin FC on August 26 in Imphal. The Marina Machans were one of the few sides who managed to stay unbeaten against the ISL winners.

Chennaiyin defeated a star-studded Hyderabad FC in their season opener and then played out a draw in the second phase of the league. The fact that there has never been a goalless draw between the two sides makes it a much more interesting affair.

In the six matches played between them, Chennaiyin FC are ahead with three wins, while Hyderabad have two. Only one game has ended in a draw, which was in their latest meeting in January.

4. Bengaluru FC Vs FC Goa

Arch-rivals FC Goa and Bengaluru FC will face each other in the second fixture on September 2 at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan. The Blues share an aggressive competition with the defending champions.

Bengaluru FC have given FC Goa many heartbreaks, including the 2018-19 ISL final. The Blues have won five out of 11 fixtures against FC Goa, while averaging 1.7 goals per game. FC Goa, on the other hand, have won thrice and are also undefeated against the Blues in the last two seasons.

Both sides will be highly motivated to get over the lows of the last season and start the new one on a good note. It’s surely going to be a must-watch fixture. Don’t miss it.

3. Mohammedan SC Vs FC Goa

Edu Bedia scored the solitary goal in the Durand Cup final last year. (Courtesy: ISL Media)

A repeat of last year’s final will be on display at the Salt Lake Stadium in the season opener on August 16. While FC Goa, who didn’t enjoy a good time after the previous edition of the Durand Cup, will want to kickoff the season with a victory, Mohammedan SC will be eyeing a revenge. It could possibly be the most thrilling fixture in Group A.

The Black Panthers haven’t forgotten what happened in extra-time on the eve of 3rd October. FC Goa skipper Edu Bedia led his team to glory and left the Kolkata giants in despair. 

In the battle between the Gaurs and the Black Panthers, who’ll come out on top?

2. ATK Mohun Bagan Vs Mumbai City

Two of Indian football’s powerhouses will go up against each other to produce a game to remember for everyone on a Sunday evening at the Salt Lake Stadium. The Mariners will host the Islanders for the very first time in their den on August 28.

Both sides have undergone major changes and have assembled herculean teams on-paper,. without a change at the helm. 

The Islanders have always taken toll on their rivals from Kolkata. In five games between the two sides, the CFG-owned side have won four while one game has ended in a draw. Moreover, two out of those four wins for Mumbai City have denied ATK Mohun Bagan silverware. So, the Mariners surely have a score to settle. 

Both sides have enjoyed memorable continental campaigns ever since the conclusion of the ISL. While ATK Mohun Bagan have advanced to the next phase of AFC cup, Mumbai City registered a strong account of themselves at the AFC Champions League.

1. East Bengal Vs ATK Mohun Bagan

It doesn’t get any bigger than this in Group A. The Kolkata Derby will be on display at the Salt Lake Stadium on 28th August.

The Kolkata Derby as always is a high stakes game. However, unfortunately, East Bengal haven’t tasted victory even once against their rivals in the ISL. ATK Mohun Bagan have won all four ISL derbies and have developed an intent of domination against their arch-rivals.

Moreover, they have scored 11 goals, averaging 2.75 goals per game.

But, it’s high time East Bengal come out of their caves and show how they won 16 Durand Cup titles. It’s more than just a football match. It’s more about emotions, drama and culture.

Who’ll complete the heist? Will ATK Mohun Bagan continue their supremacy or will East Bengal put up a strong fight for pride?

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