East Bengal books a berth in the final with a 2-0 win over Jamshedpur

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Hijazi Maher scored a goal for East Bengal

East Bengal became the first team to book a place in the 2023 Kalinga Super Cup final after getting the better of Jamshedpur 2-0 in the semi-final at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday. Javier Siverio and Hijazi Maher were the goalscorers for the Red and Gold Brigade. 

Carles Cuadrat made only one change to the East Bengal side that beat Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the Kolkata Derby in their last group-stage encounter. Vishnu T came in for Borja Herrera in the middle of the park. 

On the other hand, Jamshedpur coach Khalid Jamil made as many as eight changes from their last group stage match. Only Muhammed Uvais, Imran Khan, and Semboi Haokip retained their place in the line-up. Rehenesh TP donned the gloves while Elsinho, Pratik Chaudhari, and Provat Lakra returned in defense. Jeremy Manzorro, Germanpreet Singh, Rei Tachikawa, and Imran formed the midfield four in a 4-4-2 formation with Steve Ambri and Daniel Chima Chukwu leading the line.

After a lull first ten minutes, East Bengal registered the first shot of the game when Vishnu took a shot from a distance. The ball was drilled low and hard but Rehenesh collected it cleanly. Vishnu was once again in the thick of things in the 14th minute after he won possession in the middle of the park and tried to release Cleiton Silva but Elsinho made a vital block. 

Jamshedpur came into action in the 17th minute when Imran Khan chipped a ball into the box for Semboi to get a foot to it but the shot was inches wide. 

East Bengal finally took the lead in the 19th minute when Jamshedpur failed to intercept a corner kick. The set-piece found Saul Crespo at the far post who made a square pass across the face of the goal and Hijazi Maher found himself at the end of it, slotting it home. 

In the 24th minute, Jose Antonio Pardo almost doubled East Bengal’s lead when he spotted Rehenesh TP off his line. But, the Jamshedpur goalkeeper tracked back and collected the Spaniard’s shot. 

Prabhsukhan Singh Gill was called into action for the first time in the 30th minute when Manzorro took a shot from inside the box. But, the East Bengal custodian positioned himself perfectly to save the shot. 

Rei Tachikawa took a long-range shot in the 33rd minute in search of a goal but Prabhsukhan collected the ball in the second effort. East Bengal hung by thread in the first half to maintain their clean sheet with Pardo coming to the rescue in the 38th minute. Prabshukhan punched away by Manzorro’s free kick but the rebound fell towards Imran. Pardo made a goal-line clearance to keep East Bengal’s lead intact. 

Vishnu was denied a penalty in the 40th minute after Uvais tripped him inside the box. But, the young Keralite took a curling left-footed shot in the 43rd minute which was parried away by Rehenesh in the nick of time. The half-time scoreline read 1-0 in favor of East Bengal. 

East Bengal players celebrate after scoring a goal

Jamshedpur barely got a moment to breathe when East Bengal doubled their lead in the 47th minute after the resumption of play. Nishu Kumar made an overlapping run into the final third and crossed the ball towards Siverio in the centre. The Spaniard slipped past his marker to angle it past the rival goalkeeper. 

Nandhakumar Sekar took a shot from distance in the 59th minute to triple East Bengal’s lead but the ball didn’t bend in time to stay within the frame of the sticks. Substitute Nongdamba Naorem tried to pull one goal back in the 69th minute for Jamshedpur but his shot lacked power and trickled out of play. 

East Bengal won a penalty in the 81st minute when substitute Sayan Banerjee was tripped from behind. Cleiton Silva stepped up to take the spot kick but hit it straight into the woodwork. It was Jamshedpur’s turn to hit the woodwork in the 84th minute when Pratik Chaudhari towered above his marker from a set-piece routine but the ball evaded Prabhsukhan and hit the post. 

The Red Miners grew into the game in the final five minutes but failed to find the net. First, it was Elsinho whose header was tipped over the bar by Prabhsukhan in the 85th minute. Then, two minutes later, Manzorro squeezed through two defenders and took a shot which went inches wide. Then, in the 90th minute, Pratik once again connected a corner kick at the far post but this time it sailed over the crossbar. 

The referee awarded seven minutes of injury time but Jamshedpur failed to capitalise on it as the scoreline read 2-0 in favor of East Bengal. They will square off against the winner of the second semi-final between Mumbai City and Odisha on Sunday.