Mumbai City and Chennaiyin start the Super Cup 2023 journey with wins in Group D

Both Julius Duker and Rahim Ali were on the scoresheet for Chennaiyin

After what was a thrilling third day, the 2023 Super Cup continued from where it left off on the fourth matchday as well, which produced two exciting games. Mumbai City overcame a deficit to beat Churchill Brothers 2-1 in the first match, while in the goal fest between Chennaiyin and NorthEast United, the former won by a 4-2 margin.

Let us take a look at what happened in the matches:

Mumbai City 2-1 Churchill Brothers

Mumbai City proved why they are regarded as among the best teams in India currently, as despite not having any foreigners in their team for the Super Cup, the Islanders started their journey with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Churchill Brothers. Mehtab Singh and Lallianzuala Chhangte were on the scoresheet for the ISL League Winners’ Shield-winning team, while for Churchill, Ansumanah Kromah was the lone scorer.

With many of the superstars not featuring, Mumbai City coach Des Buckingham fielded a young team, with both Hardik Bhatt and Vikram Pratap Singh getting starts. On the other hand, Churchill Brothers coach Mateus Costa used up all of his four overseas slots by fielding Zacharie Mbenda, Kromah, Martin Chaves, and Sardor Jakhonov.

The game had a blistering start with Kromah finding the back of the net in only the 9th minute. Mumbai City’s promising goalkeeper, Phurba Lachenpa had a nightmare as he ended up giving the ball away to the Liberian, who made no mistake in finding the back of the net.

The Islanders put their feet on the pedal after going down, with the link-up between Chhangte and Vikram creating Costa’s defenders’ many problems. The equalizer came in the 27th minute when Mehtab got his head to a Rowllin Borges delivery and slotted his attempt past a diving Nora Fernandes.

An all-Indian Mumbai City defeated Churchill Brothers with four foreigners in their starting XI

Mumbai City could easily have taken the lead in the first half itself, had luck been on their side. Rahul Bheke struck the woodwork with a delightful attempt in the 38th minute, while just four minutes later, Chhangte missed an easy chance. As for the team from Goa, Kromah also missed a sitter.

The second half followed the same pattern with the Islanders dominating possession and trying all they can for the second goal, but Costa’s defense proved to be resolute. It then seemed that the match would end in a 1-1 stalemate, but Vikram was brought down inside the box in the 92nd minute, resulting in a penalty for the Islanders. Chhangte took the responsibility on his shoulders and sent Nora the wrong way to seal all three points for his team.

Chennaiyin 4-2 NorthEast United

The second game was a six-goal thriller, where Chennaiyin defeated NorthEast United by a 4-2 margin. A Rahim Ali brace and strikes from Edwin Sydney Vanspaul and Julius Duker comprised the Marina Machans’ four goals, while for the Highlanders, Rochharzela and Laldanmawia Ralte were on target.

Both managers fielded four foreigners in their lineups. Chennaiyin coach Thomas Brdaric opted for Vafa Hakhamaneshi, Fallou Diagne, Kwame Karikari, and Duker. On the other hand, Floyd Pinto selected the overseas quartet of Wilmar Jordan, Romain Phillippoteaux, Alisher Kholmurodov, and Joseba Beitia for the Highlanders’ starting XI.

Unlike the previous game, this match had a sedate start but it opened up in the 17th minute, as Rahim Ali broke the deadlock. The young Indian striker headed a Hakhamaneshi cross past Mirshad Michu to make the scoreline 1-0.

Phillippoteaux had a couple of chances to get the equalizer for the Highlanders, but instead, it was Chennaiyin who scored again. Vanspaul volleyed an Akash Sangwan header home to give Brdaric’s team a comfortable lead.

Marina Machans would have preferred to take the two-goal cushion into the lemon break, but as it turned out, Rochharzela had other plans. Samik Mitra denied Jordan’s attempt, but the rebound fell for the Indian winger who did not fluff his lines at all.

Brdaric’s side started the second half on the front foot and got their rewards in only six minutes, as Duker restored the two-goal lead. Sangwan’s delivery from the corner found the German unmarked, who slotted his attempt past Mirshad.

The next few minutes saw Chennaiyin launch one attack after the other. Ali had an opportunity of doubling his personal tally, while Anirudh Thapa and Karikari also could have easily added their names to the scoresheet, only if they were a bit more clinical.

It ultimately did not matter, as the fourth goal came in the 82nd minute. Ali found himself at the receiving end of another great cross and earned his team an unassailable three-goal cushion.

Though it was nothing more than consolation, Pinto’s team did strike back very late in the game. Emil Benny’s cross found Ralte, who did not waste the chance to make a case for his selection in the starting XI.