Odisha sets up clash with Bengaluru in the Super Cup 2023 final with a 3-1 win over NorthEast United
Odisha booked their ticket to the finals of the 2023 Super Cup to put an end to NorthEast United’s fairytale run as they beat them 3-1 courtesy of a brace from Nandhakumar Sekar and a goal from Diego Mauricio at the Payyanad Stadium in Manjeri on Saturday. Wilmar Jordan Gil gave the Highlanders the lead but his team failed to ride on the advantage.
NorthEast United fielded themselves in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Mirshad Michu donning the gloves. Tondonba Singh, Mashoor Shereef, Alisher Kholmurodov, and Alex Saji played as the back four with Joseba Beitia and Mohamed Irshad deployed as the two central defensive midfielders. Jithin MS, Gani Nigam, and Rochharzela played as the three attacking midfielders entrusted to feed balls to the lone striker Wilmar Jordan Gill.
Odisha, on the other hand, played in a 4-4-2 formation with Amrinder Singh donning the gloves. Narender Gahlot, Carlos Delgado, Osama Malik, and Sahil Panwar were deployed as the four defenders. Thoiba Singh and Princeton Rebello played in the midfield while Nandhakumar Sekar and Jerry Mawihmingthanga attacked from the flanks. Diego Mauricio and Victor Rodriguez played as the two strikers from the front.
NorthEast United took the lead in the second minute of the game after Roccharzela cut through a pass from the flanks. Jordan Gill had to poke the ball home and the Colombian made no mistake. Odisha restored parity in the 10th minute when Jerry swung a cross from the right flank. Nandhakumar calmly slotted the ball home to make it 1-1.
Odisha tried to gain the upper hand in the 17th minute when Mauricio unleashed a shot from a distance. However, it was blocked away. Three minutes later, Delgado stepped up to take a free kick from just outside the box. However, his final shot was inches above the crossbar.
The Juggernauts continued to stay on the ascendancy for the remainder of the first half but failed to score any goal. Clifford Miranda entered the tunnel with a happier side and made it count when the teams resumed play.
Wilmar Jordan nearly provided the Floyd Pinto-led side with a lead when he found himself through on goal in the 48th minute. However, he lost his footing and failed to take a shot. Odisha came close to scoring in the 54th minute when Mauricio took a shot from inside the box. However, Mashoor lunged in a timely tackle at the last moment to prevent the ball from crossing the line.
Odisha took their much-deserved lead in the 64th minute when Nandhakumar played a slick one-two pass with Victor Rodriguez at the edge of the box. He blasted the ball into the roof of the net leaving no chance for Mirshad to make a save.
Nandhakumar nearly bagged a hat-trick four minutes later for his side but Alex Saji made a timely interception to thwart his effort. Substitute Aniket Jadhav fed Mauricio through on goal in the 84th minute but Mirshad saved his final shot.
The Brazilian, finally, got his name in the scoresheet a minute later when he made the most of a deflected clearance to make himself free and drill the ball into the bottom corner. Gil got two opportunities in the dying minutes of the game but failed to find the net as NorthEast United lost the encounter despite taking an early lead.
The loss draws curtains to NorthEast United’s campaign. They finished at the bottom of the table in the ISL with only one win but made everyone’s head turn with their spirited performance at the Super Cup 2023 where they reached the semi-finals.
As far as Odisha are concerned, they will square off against Bengaluru on Tuesday for the Super Cup 2023 finals. The Juggernauts are yet to lift a trophy and they couldn’t have asked for a better finish to their season.