East Bengal ends 12-year wait to win silverware to lift the 2024 Super Cup

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The Torchbearers ended a 12-year wait for a trophy on Sunday evening

East Bengal handed a 3-2 defeat to Odisha in the final of the 2024 Kalinga Super Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar on Sunday as Nandhakumar Sekar, Saul Crespo, and Cleiton Silva scored for the victors while Diego Mauricio and Ahmed Jahouh were the goalscorers for Odisha.

East Bengal head coach Carles Cuadrat made two changes to the team that defeated Jamshedpur in the semi-final as Borja Herrera was recalled after his suspension replacing P V Vishnu while Nishu Kumar made way for Mandar Rao Dessai in the left-back position. On the other hand, Odisha head coach Sergio Lobera chose to field an unchanged starting XI that took the field in the semi-final win against Mumbai City.

In the fourth minute of the match, Nandhakumar tried a shot from outside the box but it was kept out by Lalthuammawia Ralte.

The first big chance of the match came in the 15th minute when Roy Krishna released Cy Goodard in space and the Tottenham Hotspurs youth academy product fed Mauricio whose no-look shot went a couple of inches wide.

In the 32nd minute, Jose Pardo’s shot from a free-kick was struck with venom and precision but Ralte did his best to keep the effort away from goal. From the resulting corner, Silva set up Javier Siviero for the perfect header but the Odisha goalkeeper was once again at his best to preserve his clean sheet on the grandest stage.

The deadlock was finally broken by Mauricio in the 39th minute as a Jahouh free-kick fell kindly to the striker and he made no mistakes rifling his shot past Prabhsukhan Gill to give Odisha the lead.

In the 43rd minute, Gill came a long distance from his goal to clear the ball away but failed to do so and the ball once again fell to Mauricio, but the striker fired wide disappointingly signing off a wild attempt.

The Torchbearers came out with purpose and precision in the second half as substitute Naorem Mahesh Singh fed Nandhakumar through on goal and the former Odisha forward struck the killer blow, slotting the ball in the back of the net.

At the cusp of the hour mark, Mourtada Fall’s sliding tackle on Borja Herrera was penalized by the referee as a penalty was awarded to Cuadrat’s men while Fall was shown a yellow card for repeatedly arguing with the official. Saul stepped up and converted the spot-kick to give his side the lead in the 2024 Super Cup final.

After going a goal down, Sergio Lobera’s side went a man down as well as Fall was shown a second yellow card in the 68th minute for elbowing Herrera in the neck. Ahmed Jahouh was also booked by the referee within a couple of minutes. Gill denied Mauricio in the 70th minute extending his left arm to make the crucial save and keep his side’s lead intact.

In the 82nd minute, Borja played a through ball for P V Vishnu but the 22-year old midfielder shot straight at Ralte and couldn’t put the result beyond any doubt as the fans remained on the edge of their seats for the remainder of the fixture.

In the dying seconds of injury time, Roy Krishna played Mauricio through on goal and Gill was forced to come out and block the striker but gave away a penalty in the process. Unlike the semi-final, Jahouh stepped up to take the penalty and slotted the ball past Gill to take the match to extra time.

Carles Cuadrat broke the trophy drought at East Bengal

The initial phase of extra time was dominated by Cuadrat’s men as Souvik Chakrabarti smashed the ball on the crossbar followed by a second bookable offence from the midfielder as Odisha regained parity in terms of players on the field.

In the 107th minute, Gill made a double save, first denying a long-range effort from Krishna followed by thwarting away the threat posed by Isak Ralte. Both Amey Ranawade and Sayan Banerjee were shown yellow cards in the next minute as the emotions were flaring at the Kalinga Stadium.

VP Suhair’s cross across the six-yard box was toed behind by Ranawade smartly but Silva soon mugged Narender Gahlot off the ball and finished smartly to regain the lost lead for his team.

Cuadrat once again managed to outwit Lobera in a final and it once again took an extra-time goal to settle the battle but East Bengal finally managed to end a long wait for silverware as the Torchbearers would now shift their focus on the Kolkata Derby against Mohun Bagan Super Giant on Saturday while Odisha would host league leaders Kerala Blasters on Friday in the ISL.