The Clash of Titans

The Kolkata derby between Emami East Bengal and Mohun Bagan Super Giant is a legendary rivalry that has graced both the maidans of Kolkata and the hallowed Saltlake Stadium. However, the final of the 132nd edition of the Durand Cup, scheduled to be played at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Sunday, promises to be a unique spectacle. Both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have illustrious histories in the tournament, each having claimed the Durand Cup a record 16 times. This final will determine which team seizes the coveted 17th title.

The path to this historic clash began with a group stage encounter where East Bengal emerged victorious with a 1-0 win over Mohun Bagan, ending their four-year wait for a derby victory. Nadhakumar Sekar’s long-range strike made the difference. Since then, both teams have navigated their way through tough opponents in the knockout stages to earn a spot in the summit clash.

A Rivalry Steeped in History

This marks the 14th time that the Kolkata derby has been contested in the Durand Cup final. East Bengal has won on five occasions, while Mohun Bagan has clinched victory four times. Remarkably, the trophy has been shared four times, with the match ending in a draw. The most recent shared title was in 2004 when East Bengal defeated Mohun Bagan 2-1. The last time these two rivals met in the final of a national cup tournament was on 2 October 2010 in the Federation Cup, where East Bengal triumphed over Mohun Bagan.

East Bengal is on the hunt for a domestic trophy win after an 11-year gap since their last Federation Cup victory in 2012. The significance of this match is not lost on anyone, and the rivalry is set to reach new heights.

Coaches’ Perspectives

Carles Cuadrat, the head coach of East Bengal, reflected on his team’s journey to the final. “After the draw with the Bangladesh Army team, we regrouped and improved in our sessions. We secured a crucial win over Mohun Bagan and emerged victorious in the Derby. Our progression has been steady, and we are now on the cusp of something special. It’s just the beginning of the process, and I am happy with our performance,” said Cuadrat during the pre-match press conference.

Cuadrat acknowledged the challenge posed by the humid weather and the presence of new players, emphasizing that this is a long-awaited opportunity to clinch victory against their arch-rivals.

Mohun Bagan’s coach, Juan Ferrando, expressed satisfaction with his team’s performance thus far. “We’ve faced formidable opponents like Mumbai and FC Goa in our journey. Now, we face another strong team in the final. Winning the trophy would be a significant achievement for us as we continue our preseason preparations,” Ferrando remarked.

Ferrando also highlighted the importance of focusing on the present rather than dwelling on past results. “Every match is different, and we are prepared for this challenge,” he added.

Players’ Outlook

For Mohun Bagan Super Giant’s Hector Yuste, this will be his first Kolkata derby experience, and he is eager to make it memorable. “I just love playing football, and I’m ready to contribute in any way, even as a goalkeeper,” said Yuste. He acknowledged the pressure but emphasized the team’s determination to win the trophy for their fans.

Borja Herrera, another key player for East Bengal, expressed his admiration for the club’s passionate fans. “Seeing our fans’ dedication, even in the rain, was amazing,” said Herrera. He stressed the importance of the upcoming final and their commitment to securing victory.

Where to Watch

The 132nd Durand Cup final will be broadcast live on the Sony Sports Ten 2 channel and will also be available for livestreaming on SonyLIV, ensuring that fans worldwide can witness this epic clash.

Don’t Miss Out

As these football titans prepare to collide in the Durand Cup final, the excitement is palpable. With history, rivalry, and sheer determination at play, this match is destined to be one for the ages. Tune in to witness the battle for the 17th Durand Cup title and the bragging rights that come with it.

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