Champions Gokulam Kerala and Army Red through to Durand quarters

Defending Champions Gokulam Kerala FC and the Army Red Football Team advanced from Group D, reaching the quarter-finals of the 130th Durand Cup in contrasting styles on Sunday.

The Army Red team thus became the second Services team after Army Green to make it through to the tournament’s knockout stages.

The simultaneous final group fixtures were a picture in contrast. While the game between Army Red and ISL side Hyderabad FC at the Vivekananda YubabharatiKrirangan (VYBK) was tight and cagey, it rained goals at the Kalyani Stadium where Assam Rifles and Gokulam Kerala squared off. Gokulam beat Assam Rifles 7-2 while Army Red beat Hyderabad FC by an odd goal in three.

The Malabarians showed no mercy and raced to an emphatic 4-1 lead by half-time.

Nigerian striker Chisom Elvis Chikatara gave Gokulam the lead in the very first minute. Goan forward Beneston Piecton Barretto notched a brace in the first half while Rahim Osumanu also added to the tally.

In the second half, Chikatara added a double to his name to complete his hat-trick, the first of the 130th Durand Cup. Substitute Sourav also joined the action and nicked a goal for himself in the 61st minute.

Assam Rifles scored twice through Soibam Rog’r Singh 36′ and Samuj’l Rabha 63′ but that was nothing more than a consolation.

Liton shines in Army Red win

In the other game at the VYBK, Liton Shil of Army Red scored a brace and was the star of the match. Koustav Dutta scored the only goal for Hyderabad FC.

The first half was very eventful with both teams playing equally well. Liton Shil broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute but Hyderabad’s Koustav Dutta did well to score the equaliser, just two minutes later.

There were quite a few chances created but after that but it remained 1-1 at halftime.

Army Red played a very attacking game in the second half and Liton Shil did well to score the winning goal for the Reds, taking his team through to the quarter-finals.

Elvis Chikatara of Gokulam and Liton Shil of Army Red were adjudged the Man of the Match winners for their respective games.