Bengaluru share spoils with Sreenidi Deccan while Kerala Blasters bulldoze RoundGlass Punjab in Super Cup 2023 Group A
The group stage phase of Super Cup 2023 kickstarted with Bengaluru playing out a 1-1 draw with Sreenidi Deccan in Group A at the EMS Stadium in Kozhikode. In the night kickoff game, Kerala Blasters got the better of I-League champions Roundglass Punjab in a 3-1 victory.
A draw with Sreenidi Deccan: A wake-up call for Bengaluru
Bengaluru fielded themselves in a 3-5-2 formation. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu donned the gloves while Sandesh Jhingan, Bruno Ramires, and Parag Shrivas played at the heart of the defense. Prabir Das and Naorem Roshan Singh attacked from the wings while Suresh Singh Wangjam, Javi Hernandez, and Rohit Sharma rotated the ball in the middle of the park. Sunil Chhetri and Roy Krishna played as the two strikers.
Sreenidi Deccan, too, fielded themselves in a 3-5-2 formation. Aryan Lamba guarded the sticks Bijay Chhetri, Soirashem Singh, and Arijit Bagui played as the back three. Phalguni Singh, Muthu Mayakkannan, Rosenberg Gabriel, Ankira Stanislas, and Rilwan Hassan played as the midfielders. Faysal Shayesteh and David Castenada were deployed as the two strikers up top.
Bengaluru got the first chance of the game in the second minute when Prabir Das curled a well-measured pass towards Sunil Chhetri at the centre. However, the skipper’s shot was off-target.
The ISL runners-up had to wait only for six more minutes to break the deadlock when Naorem Roshan Singh dribbled past a host of defenders to lay it off for Javi Hernandez. Although his initial shot was saved by the Sreenidi goalkeeper, the rebound fell kindly towards Javi who made no mistake in slamming the ball home.
In the 22nd minute, Sreenidi found themselves back in the game with Faysal Shahesteh curling the ball into the net after receiving a pass from Ankira Stanislas.
Sreenidi started the game on a positive note in the second half when Gabriel’s cross from the right flank narrowly missed Arijit’s head in the 56th minute. In the dying embers of the game, Prabir’s cross fell kindly towards Chhetri, but the captain’s tame header was saved comfortably.
Kerala Blasters make the most of the home advantage to beat RoundGlass Punjab
Kerala Blasters fielded themselves in a 4-4-2 formation with Sachin Suresh guarding the sticks. Nishu Kumar, Bijoy Varghese, Victor Mongil, and Ayush Adhikari formed the back four with the quartet of Vibin Mohanan, Danish Farooq, Saurav Mandal, and Sahal Abdul Samad playing as the midfielders. Apostolos Giannou and Dimitrios Diamantakos played as the two strikers.
Roundglass Punjab, too, took to the field in a 4-4-2 formation with Kiran Limbu guarding the sticks. Suresh Meitei, Hmingthanmawia, Khaiminthang Lhungdim, and Mohammed Salah played as the back four. Juan Nellar, Freddy Lallawmawma, Maheson Singh, and Brandon Vanlalremdika played as the four midfielders with Juan Mera and Luka Majcen playing as the two strikers.
Kerala nearly took the lead in the 4th minute when Vibin’s free-kick reached Mongil at the box. However, the Spaniard mistimed his jump and found his shot going over the crossbar. Diamantakos hurried past the Punjab defense but his final shot was intercepted by Hmingthanmawia in the 19th minute.
Kerala had one more chance in the 30th minute when Sahal released Danish through on goal. However, the latter’s shot flew past the crossbar. Saurav was through on goal in the 35th minute but rather than taking a shot he decided to lay it off for Sahal. However, Kiran came out of his line to avert the danger.
Kerala finally broke the deadlock when they were awarded a penalty in the 41st minute. Hmingthanwamia pulled down Saurav inside the box and Diamantakos calmly slotted the penalty into the bottom corner.
Punjab’s substitute Krishnananda Singh was brought down inside the box in the 52nd minute but the referee decided against awarding a penalty. Kerala doubled their lead two minutes later when Nishu curled his shot from outside the box into the net.
In the 70th minute, Luka laid a pass towards Krishnananda but the latter’s shot trickled past the post in a one-on-one effort. Punjab eventually cut the lead to half in the 74th minute when Juan Mera dribbled past two defenders and laid a cross towards Krishnananda. The latter made no error in slamming the ball home with his volley.
In the 90th minute, Rahul KP made a solo run through the right flank but his final shot was saved by Kiran Limbu. Rahul intercepted the ball in the final third and used his sudden burst of acceleration to drift past the remaining Punjab defenders. Before Kiran could close him down this time, Rahul slotted the ball past him in the dying embers of the game to make it 3-1 for Kerala Blasters.
Bengaluru will take on Roundglass Punjab on Wednesday while Sreenidi Deccan will square off against Kerala Blasters on the same day at the 5:00 PM kickoff.