Durand Cup 2019: Gokulam to lock horns with East Bengal in the first semis

Kolkata, August 20: Gokulam Kerala FC aims to continue its winning spree as the club from Malabar is all set to engage East Bengal in the semifinal of the 129th edition of the Durand Cup at Salt Lake Stadium here on Wednesday.

Malabarians have been in a scintillating form so far, scoring ten goals and conceding only one from the three league matches. They have won all their group matches in a dominant manner and their captain Marcus Joseph has scored two hat-tricks to trounce their opponents.

East Bengal have also reached the finals after brilliant wins in the league round and it would be hard to predict the results when the two teams clash.

Gokulam’s Spanish coach Santiago Varela has so far been able to utilise only two foreigners entirely as Bruno Pelissary was given rest and Henry Kisekka was injured. However, their captain Marcus Joseph from Trinidad and Tobago has been in a stupendous form scoring hat-tricks and creating chances.

“He is excellent. He has already proved he is formidable. It is good to watch such players play. Our players have played with intent so far. If they continue this intent, we could win more matches,” said Fernando Varela.

The coach says that he will be cautious in the semifinal. “The confidence we have in ourselves does not make us forget that we are playing against a great team, a club with history and that represents many people here in Kolkata, we must respect the history of East Bengal,” he said.

Gokulam Kerala FC are also expecting a speedy recovery for Henry Kisekka, who was injured after the first match. “We have not decided it. He is recovering but there are doubts if he can play tomorrow,” said the coach.  

There are no other injury concerns. Fernando had rested six of the players in their last match against TRAU FC and most of them are expected to return to the starting XI. “We have not decided the line-up. Our aim is to optimise the team even more. We must be able to relax and play even better football every time,” he added.

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