Aizawl holds East Bengal for a draw as Odisha qualifies for the Super Cup 2023 semi-final
Matchday 10 of the Indian Super Cup 2023 confirmed this season’s second semi-finalists. East Bengal had a really tough time as they played the third draw of their campaign that hammered their hopes of being in the final four against Aizawl. On the other side, Odisha defeated Hyderabad in a stunning fashion in order to advance to the playoffs.
East Bengal 2-2 Aizawl
After two consecutive losses against the likes of Hyderabad and Odisha, Aizawl was already out of the semi-final contention. However, the I-League side has also ended East Bengal’s campaign with a 2-2 draw.
Naorem Mahesh Singh and Sumeet Passi recorded their names on the scoresheet for the Red and Gold Brigade while Hk Lalhruaitluanga and David Lalhlansanga found the back of the net for Aizawl.
In his last game as the head coach, Stephen Constantine decided to name three overseas players in the starting line-up – Cleiton Silva, Alex Lima, and Charalambos Kyriakou. On the other side, Caetano Pinho’s playing XI had only one foreign player who was Akito Saito.
The match started with Aizawl’s attack which was quickly punched out by Kamaljit. Following that, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Silva, and Passi quickly jumped into the attack in order to grasp an early lead. The first goal-scoring opportunity of the match emerged in the 4th minute when Mahesh made a forward run, but he was later dispossessed in the keeper’s box.
In the 16th minute, East Bengal’s target man Naorem Mahesh Singh broke the deadlock while he was looking forward to finding Sumeet Passi for a cross but the ball ended up going into the net following a detection off Akito.
After putting a step ahead, the Red and Gold Brigade scored their second goal in the 21st minute. Passi was waiting for a cross in the keeper’s box and VP Suhair gave him what he exactly wanted, following a beautiful pass, the 27-year-old comfortably headed the ball into the net beating Vanlal Hriatpuia stunned.
It’s fair to say that, East Bengal was threatening Aizawl until the drinks break in the 29th minute. However, after the break, Aizawl changed its approach toward the match and started making quick attacks.
In the 36th minute, the I-League side started making regular attacks and also testing Kamaljit, but the East Bengal goalkeeper managed to stay compact. However, Aizawl didn’t take too long to pull one back as Hruaitea smashed the ball into the goal in the 42nd minute after a pass from David who collected a loose ball following Kamaljit’s chip save of Akito’s shot.
As the second half got underway, Mahesh quickly tried to make a run forward and give his side a third goal but his try was in vain. In the 48th minute, Kamaljit again came way off the line leaving the goal wide open, which allowed a lot of room for David to equalize the match, and he rightfully managed to do so.
In the 75th minute, it seemed like the I-League club can pull a major upset as David smashed the ball inside the goal on a rebound of Sailo’s strike. However, the luck wasn’t on Aizawl’s side as the goal was ruled out as offside.
Just before the full-time whistle, Silva went for a 40-yard shot but the match ended 2-2 bringing a close to the Stephen Constantine era at East Bengal in dismay.
Odisha 2-1 Hyderabad
Odisha and Hyderabad played a virtual quarter-final at the Payyanad Stadium as the Juggernauts managed to get the better of their rivals 2-1. With the help of goals from Diego Maurício and Victor Rodrigues, the Juggernauts managed to outplay Javier Siverio’s early strike.
Manolo Márquez decided to go with full strength as he named four overseas players in the starting line-up – Joao Victor, Javier Siverio, Borja Herrera, and Odei Onaindia. Similarly, Clifford Miranda also chose four foreigners for his playing XI – Carlos Delgado, Osama Malik, Deigo Mauricio, and Victor Rodriguez.
As the match started, Odisha looked solid as they were keeping possession from the first minute. In the 7th minute, Odisha increased troubles for Hyderabad in their penalty box on a corner but failed to break the deadlock.
However, Princeton made a major blunder in the defensive line as Siverio dispossessed him and took a shot but the Juggernauts were lucky as the strike was saved by Amrinder. The deadlock was eventually broken by Siverio in the 11th minute with a brilliant header on a cross-flank pass.
As the first goal was scored, Odisha also started pushing and making forward runs. Diego Maurício was leading the attack for his side but Gurmeet was giving a praiseworthy performance.
In the 20th minute, the Nizams came really close to scoring, but Joao Victor’s pass failed to find the striker. After a couple of more attempts from the ISL 2021-22 champions, the Juggernauts managed to steal possession and Maurício took a decent attempt on the goal which went slightly wide from the goal.
In the 38th minute, the first yellow card of the match was shown to Nikhil Poojary. Hence, Hyderabad ended the first half on a dominant note. It seemed like the match will be an easy way through for Manolo Marquez’s team, however, it wasn’t the case.
Hyderabad picked up the match from where they left off at the half-time whistle. The Nizams were absolutely rampaging against Odisha and not giving them room to breathe. Sahil Tavora provided Siverio with a brilliant cross in front of the goal but the Spaniard failed to convert the chance as his header went wide in the 52nd minute.
However, the Kalinga Warriors came from behind to equalize the match in the 55th minute as Diego Maurício scored Odisha’s first goal after a hassle in the keeper’s box. Following that, Hyderabad became really desperate for the goal. In the 59th minute, Yasir had the opportunity to award the lead to his side but his shot went wide.
Hyderabad was desperately looking forward to a goal in order to secure a place in the playoffs and Siverio found himself in the right place to score a goal in the 73rd minute, but unfortunately, he missed again. With every passing minute, the intensity of the match was also increasing.
A golden opportunity to get on the driving seat was missed by Isak Ralte as his strike hit the crossbar in the 83rd minute. When it seemed like the match will end levelled on both sides, Victor Rodrigues sealed the victory for The Kalinga Warriors in the 85th minute.
Seven minutes were added to the match after the regulation time. Moreover, as the match was about to end, Gurmeet was given a red card for fouling Diego Maurício outside the box. In the end, Odisha managed to secure a spot in the semi-final of the 2023 Super Cup.