2024 Super Cup Matchday 1 Roundup: Defending champions Odisha defeats Bengaluru and More

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Odisha starts the 2024 Kalinga Super Cup on a winning note

The 2024 Indian Super Cup completed Matchday 1 even before the Indian national football team could kick a ball in Qatar. Indian football fans witnessed their favorite clubs in action as a mix of regular and reserve players took to the field at the Kalinga Stadium in Odisha.

Group A

East Bengal and Hyderabad delivered the perfect start to the tournament as the Torchbearers and the Nizams were involved in a five-goal thriller.

The skipper for the day, Cleiton Silva opened the scoring on Tuesday afternoon helping a Mohammed Rakip cross reach its destination. In the 45th minute, Hyderabad struck back through Ramhlunchhunga leaving East Bengal to rue the missed chances earlier in the first half.

Eight minutes into the second half, Silva doubled his side’s lead with a precise free-kick ending in the top right corner of the net. Borja Herrera could have installed a two-goal advantage later but struck the post from a well-struck left-footed free-kick.

Souvik Chakrabarty tripped Hyderabad’s goalscorer in the 78th minute inside the penalty box and Nim Dorjee Tamang stepped up and delivered from the spot once again making the Torchbearers wonder if one of the shots that struck the post could have gone in or not.

After parity was restored, Cuadrat’s men struck back immediately as substitute Saul Crespo rose the highest to head the ball in the back of the net from a Herrera corner bagging three points.

In the 7:30 pm kickoff on Tuesday, Mohun Bagan SG faced Sreenidi Deccan as Clifford Miranada took charge of the Mariners while Antonio Lopez Habas waited for his visa before arriving on the country’s east coast.

Miranda has a depleted squad at his disposal with seven MBSG players selected in India’s squad for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup as the likes of Arsh Shaikh, Raj Basfore, Sumit Rathi, and Abhishek Suryawanshi found a place in the starting XI.

The sliding Rathi conceded a penalty and William Oliveira sent goalkeeper Shaikh the wrong way to give the I-League side the advantage. In the 39th minute, Suryawanshi struck the crossbar and the ball fell kindly to an alert Jason Cummings who tapped the ball with the goal gaping at his mercy.

In the 71st minute, Hugo Boumous found Asish Rai with a long ball and the right wing-back found Armando Sadiku unmarked in the six-yard box and the Albanian scored the winning goal of the match. Suryawanshi was shown a second yellow card for a rash sliding tackle in the 86th minute and will be missing the next fixture against Hyderabad.

Group B

Kwame Peprah scored a brace to help his side win 3-1

ISL table-toppers Kerala Blasters took on Shillong Lajong at 2 pm the next day and Dimitrios Diamantakos laid off the ball for Kwame Peprah who scored the first goal of the evening in the 15th minute followed by another goal in the 27th minute via Peprah’s chest helping a cross from Prabir Das come to fruition as Ivan Vukamanovic’s side was cruising in the afternoon heat.

A minute later, Lajong was awarded a penalty even though Sachin Suresh got a hand to the ball first, the referee Harish Kundu deemed it a foul and awarded a penalty to the I-League side. Renan stepped from the spot and reduced the goal deficit to one for his side.

In reply, Dimitrios Diamantakos rattled the crossbar but could not restore the two-goal advantage. Early in the second half, Daisuke Sakai delivered a perfect cross over the Lajong defenders to find the unmarked Mohammed Aimen at the back post who scored his first goal since the 2023 Durand Cup.

The Blasters are now on a four-match winning streak in all competitions and would be hoping to trump the upcoming challenges against Jamshedpur and NorthEast United. Talking about those two ISL teams, the Red Miners and the Highlanders were involved in a riveting evening fixture on Wednesday.

In the fourth minute of the match, Seiminlen Doungel failed to capitalize on a mistake from NorthEast United goalkeeper Dipesh Chauhan but Nestor Albiach later scored a goal to put the Highlanders in the lead in the 17th minute.

Substitute Steve Ambri struck the crossbar signifying some threat from Jamshedpur which was later converted by Daniel Chima Chukwu who tapped the ball in the back of the net from Ambri’s pass in the 68th minute. 

Completing the comeback in the 88th minute, Ambri was involved once again as he scored the winning goal after a long ball from the back facilitated a first win for Khalid Jamil as the head coach of Jamshedpur.

Group C

Mumbai City and Gokulam Kerala were involved in another enthralling 2 pm encounter as the I-League side took the lead through the 2023-24 I-League top-scorer Alex Sanchez. From a practiced set-piece routine, Aminou Bouba headed the ball towards Phurba Lachenpa who tamely kept it in play and Sanchez capitalized on the mistake to punish the Islanders. 

The Islanders thought that they had equalized when Valpuia headed the ball in from a corner routine but the referee pulled the play back for a free-kick as Gokulam led 1-0 at half-time.

Bouba struck the crossbar in the 72nd minute and four minutes later, Abdenasser El Khayati’s incisive pass laid the ball off for substitute Ayush Chhikara who held his composure for a fine finish past Avilash Paul resulting in the equalizer.

As the match was about to end in a stalemate, Alberto Noguera went down in the penalty box after a light challenge and earned the penalty kick which was converted by El Khayati to mark the perfect start for Mumbai City.

Shifting the focus back to the main pitch of Kalinga Stadium, Chennaiyin and Punjab battled it out for three points but had to settle for a point each as the two Jordans scored a goal each.

Staikos Vergetis’ men started with purpose as Madhi Talal’s cross was put in the back of the net by Wilmar Jordan Gil to score his fourth goal against the Marina Machans in all competitions. There was a setback for Punjab at the end of the first half as Amarjit Singh was sent off for throwing an elbow in the face of Ninthoi Meetei. The two teams were evened out when Rafael Crivellaro was shown a second yellow card in the 70th minute.

Connor Shields and Jordan Murray embrace each other after the goal

With less than ten minutes of regulation time left, Connor Shields’ cross found Jordan Murray who headed the ball past Kiran Limbu breaking the Nepalese goalkeeper’s resistance. The battle between the two ISL sides ended as the first draw of the ongoing Super Cup.

Group D

The action returned to Pitch 1 of Kalinga Stadium at 2 pm on January 12 as  Goa defeated Inter Kashi 2-1.

After a sedate first half, Noah Sadaoui helped bring the match to life as he scored a curler from outside the box and then assisted the second goal which was brought down well by Carlos Martinez before volleying the ball in the back of the net.

Mumbai City loanee Gyamar Nikum danced past three Goa defenders before blasting the ball past Dheeraj Singh who could only witness his side’s two-goal advantage getting reduced in the 78th minute but the Gaurs held out for the remainder of the match to bag three points.

In a replay of the 2023 Super Cup final, Odisha welcomed Bengaluru and the defending champions edged the contest 1-0 as Ahmed Jahouh’s free-kick goal in the 21st minute decided the match as no other goal could be scored in the remainder of the match.

A half-time tussle saw Ryan Williams getting a direct red card for verbal indiscipline against the fourth referee and the Blues tried to fight back with 10 men but the Juggernauts closed the battle in their favor.