THE GROUP C of Durand Cup 2021 got its matches underway today at the Mohun Bagan Ground, and for the first time in this edition, an Armed Forces team picked up a victory.
The Indian Navy Football Team defeated Delhi FC 2-1, staging a fierce comeback after going a goal down.
It was Delhi who got the break-through after the intial period of back and forth action. Willis Plaza found the net about 21 minutes in. But within just 5 minutes, Sreyas VG got Indian Navy back on equal terms. In the final minutes of the first half Delhi attempted to regain their lead, but one of Willis Plaza's shots was blocked by Navy goalkeeper Bhaskar Roy to keep the scoreline level.
In the second half Delhi FC tried to take on a more aggressive approach with their substitutions, but ultimately it was the defensive mistakes that did them in. In the last minutes of the match when it was looking like a draw was an inevitability, Dalraj Singh managed to get one past the Delhi FC keeper to score the second goal for Indian Navy. There wasn't enough time left for Delhi FC to regroup and make a comeback.
Following the losses faced by Indian Air Force to Mohammedan Sporting and Army Green to FC Goa, this is a long due comeback made for the Armed Forces teams by the Indian Navy Football Team. In the previous edition of the tournament, the Armed Forces teams had just one win to their name when on 9th August 2019 the Indian Air Force Football Team beat I-League club TRAU FC. But there's a good chance for more victories this time around, especially with two of the forces' teams, Assam Rifles and Army Red, facing off on 9th September.
As for Delhi FC, the win is a major setback. The other two clubs in their group are Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters, so the challenge is only going to get steeper for them. But on the plus side, the Dwarka-based club's young side is getting exposure to some quality competition before they enter the I-League Qualifiers next month.