2024 Kalinga Super Cup Matchday 2 Preview: Goa take on Bengaluru in an action-packed week

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Cleiton and co. were on the money against Hyderabad

The Kalinga Super Cup has kicked off in style and we have had a thrilling Matchday 1 which has been a treat to watch for all Indian football fans. The action has been fast and furious, while cards and controversies have not been at bay at all.

Ahead of the competition, it was widely expected that Group D featuring high-flying Goa, Odisha, Bengaluru and Inter Kashi would be the Group of Death and it seems the tag has been justified. On the other hand, the highlight of the week definitely was the five-goal thriller between  East Bengal and Hyderabad. Let’s give you a breakdown of what you can expect from Matchday 2.

Group A

In Group A, the first game which kicks off at 2:00 pm IST on 14th January will be Mohun Bagan Super Giant looking to amp it up against Hyderabad. Having just scraped past in their opening fixture, the Mariners will be looking to ensure they bag another win ahead of the much-awaited Kolkata Derby. Having fielded a severely weakened side due to the absence of 7 players from their Indian contingent because of the A Asian Cup 2023, new manager Antonio Habas will again rely on the Cummings-Sadiku duo to deliver the goods.

Hyderabad, on the other hand, will be seeking another brilliant performance from the likes of Ramhlunchhunga and Nim Dorjee Tamang, who both scored against  East Bengal. Mohun Bagan will be a much harder game for obvious reasons, but a draw against one of the favorites of the competition will certainly ease the pressure on the club which has been jarred with financial troubles off the pitch lately.

East Bengal will next take on another side from Hyderabad in their next clash on the 14th of January at 7:30 pm – Sreenidi Deccan. Just like their counterparts, Sreenidi Deccan proved to be a tough nut to crack for Mohun  Bagan SG in their first game of the Kalinga Super Cup. Having defeated Hyderabad, East Bengal are now on an 8-match unbeaten run and will certainly be looking to keep it going. Their overseas signings all looked in fine form against the Nizams with Saul Crespo also getting on the scoresheet from a corner from Borja. 

There is little doubt, however, that Sreenidi Deccan will want to upset the odds against the Torchbearers. The I-League side gave a good account of themselves against the Mariners and will certainly fancy themselves against a side which is languishing in the lower half of the Indian Super League table. Having scored 23 goals in the I-League 2023/24, the joint-highest alongside Gokulam Kerala midfielder Faysel Shayesteh and forward Rilwan Hassan’s form will also give them added hope. 

Group B

Kerala Blasters were absolutely irrepressible in their Super Cup opener

Shillong Lajong will take on Northeast United on Monday with proceedings set to kick off at 2:00 pm. Despite having a mediocre I-League season so far and getting wiped out by Kerala Blasters in their first game, the Meghalayan club will no doubt be pinning their hopes on captain Paulinho and forward Abdou Karim Samb to deliver a much-needed result.

Midfielder Romain Philippoteaux will be the central piece around which the Northeast United team is built and the Frenchman will have to be at his decisive best for his team to have a chance to make it to the next round. Eyes will also be on skipper Gaurav Bora to marshall his troops from the back so they do not succumb to an upset.

On the other hand, the ISL table-toppers showcased their skill and flair and will no doubt be eager to put Jamshedpur to the sword later that day when the two sides face each other in the 7:30 pm kickoff. Dimitrios Diamantakos, Daisuke Sakai, and Kwame Peprah will be the ones to watch out for, while goalkeeper Sachin Suresh will be keen to avoid making rash tackles like the one which cost him his clean sheet against Lajong.

Jamshedpur may have caused an upset of sorts in their opener with a win over Northeast United, but the challenge will be completely different when they take on Kerala Blasters next. 

The Keralite team has won four games on the trot and are tournament favorites, so the likes of Jeremy Manzarro, who produced a delightful assist against Northeast United as well as the duo of Daniel Chima Chukwu and Steve Ambri have to be at their silky best to unlock a well-set up defense.

Group C

For Gokulam Kerala, Chennaiyin is next on the plate on 16th January for a 2 pm clash. I-League top scorer Alex Sanchez will be the main threat for the Marina Machans’ defense which struggled for pace in their 1-1 draw against Punjab in their first group game. 

Apart from Sanchez, Nikola Stojanovic and Aminou Bouba will be critical in terms of their attacking game plan but they need to avoid making rash tackles while defending in transitions to ensure they come out on top.

Mumbai City takes on Punjab in the 7:30 pm kickoff on Tuesday. Petr Kratky will be relying on Abdenasser El Khayati as his main man again, who was instrumental in the first game. He will also expect more consistent high-pressing from his team with Jayesh Rane and Gurkirat Singh being key to the game plan in attack. Goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa will seek to atone for his error that led to the goal from Sanchez in the first game and will need to be a lot more aware of his surroundings against Punjab.

Chennaiyin and Punjab will both have their work cut out for them, especially with both sides set to miss Rafael Crivellaro and Amarjit Kiyam respectively as both of them saw red cards during their game. Jordan Murray and Connor Shields need to be much more efficient in front of goal for Chennaiyin if they are to get past the Gokulam challenge while Madih Talal, Luka Majcen, and goalscorer Wilmar Jordan Gil will be key against Mumbai City.

Group D

Goa was a treat to watch against Inter Kashi

In the last set of games in Matchday 2, Goa will want to show why they are still the only unbeaten side in the ISL. Noah Sadaoui ran the show in their win against Inter Kashi and will no doubt be keen to make a similar impact against Bengaluru when the two sides meet each other on 17th January at 2:00 pm. Apart from Noah and Carlos, Goa’s Brison Fernandes and Carl McHugh will also be key men who can change the game in an instant.

The Blues no doubt had the upper hand in the game against Odisha on multiple occasions against the Juggernauts with Javi Hernandez, Slavko Damjanovic, and Sivasakthi Narayanan all coming close on multiple occasions. Gerard Zaragoza will have to address that issue before the Blues face Goa. Bengaluru will also be missing midfielder Ryan Williams in the next clash as he was shown a red card.

Ahmed Jahouh’s stunning free-kick gave the defending champions Odisha a moral-boosting win and they will be confident ahead of their next match against Inter Kashi on Wednesday at 7:30 pm. For Sergio Lobera’s men however, the only challenge will be to be more clinical in front of goal as Aniket Jadhav and Isak Ralte both missed clear-cut opportunities to help register a much more convincing win against the Blues.

For Inter Kashi, there were several key highlights to take away with goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharja’s form being something they can rely on. Fran Gomes, Edmund Larindika, and Jackichand Singh will have to be at their very best if they are to have a whiff of a chance against Odisha.