Sreenidi Deccan pulls off an upset while Bengaluru gets a win in Group A
While the first four matchdays of the 2023 Super Cup gave us glimpses of every team in the competition, alongside plenty of goals, matchday 5 provided us with the first major surprise as Sreenidi Deccan defeated Kerala Blasters 2-0. The second game was along expected lines though, with Bengaluru winning 2-0 against RoundGlass Punjab.
Let us take a look at what happened in the matches:
Sreenidi Deccan 2-0 Kerala Blasters
Sreenidi Deccan might have missed out on the I-League title, but they are not missing out on making an impression against the big boys from ISL. After a draw against Bengaluru, the Deccan Warriors pulled off an upset by beating Kerala Blasters 2-0. Rilwan Hassan and David Casteneda were on the scoresheet for Sreenidi Deccan.
Kerala Blasters’ assistant manager Frank Dauwen fielded three foreigners in his starting XI – Marko Leskovic, Ivan Kaliyuzhnyi, and Dimitrios Diamantakos. On the other hand, Sreenidi Deccan manager Carlos Vaz Pinto went with a full-strength team with four overseas stars, composed of Faysal Shayeshteh, Castaneda, Hassan, and Stanislas Ankira.
Sreenidi Deccan had the better start in the game, with the first six minutes producing two opportunities – one for Rosenborg Gabriel and the other for Shayesteh. While those were not capitalized upon, the opening goal came soon after.
In the 16th minute, Ayush Adhikari ended up giving away possession to Sreenidi’s skilful Nigerian midfielder Hassan, who had no problems in receiving the gift and slotting his shot past Sachin Suresh to make the scoreline 1-0.
The Tuskers should have restored parity right after when a cross from Diamantakos found Kaliyuzhnyi unmarked in a dangerous position, but he ended up dragging his shot wide. But it was one of the few chances that Kerala Blasters had, as the likes of Hassan and Gabriel launched one attack after another for the Deccan Warriors.
The consistent pressure paid off, as Pinto’s team increased their advantage in the 44th minute of the game. After receiving a pass from Shayesteh, Dinesh Singh tried finding one of his teammates, but Ruivah Hormipan came up with an interception. However, his block went only as far as Castaneda’s foot, who struck the ball into the bat of the net.
Dauwen went all-out on the attack in the second half by introducing Greek striker, Apostolos Giannou, who almost delivered the goods instantly. Giannou found himself at the end of a delightful pass from Adhikari, but could not keep his shot on target.
The Tuskers kept on piling the pressure, with Diamantakos testing the Deccan Warriors’ goalkeeper, Aryan Niraj Limbu. In the 69th minute, Giannou found himself unmarked inside the box yet again, but could not find the target for the second time.
The next few minutes saw Dauwen’s Indian stars also trying their luck out, with Rahul KP and Sahal Abdul Samad looking dangerous, but Pinto’s defense remained firm and impenetrable.
RoundGlass Punjab 0-2 Bengaluru
In the second match, Bengaluru had a difficult time breaking down the defense of the I-League champions, RoundGlass Punjab, but they managed to get a 2-0 win. Udanta Singh and Javi Hernandez scored the Blues’ two goals.
Punjab’s head coach Staikos Vergetis fielded four foreigners in his starting XI, with Kiran Chemjong, Juan Mera, Juan Nellar, and Luka Majcen. On the other hand, Bengaluru coach Simon Grayson went with only two foreigners – Javi and Bruno Ramires.
The Blues had the better start to the game and almost broke the deadlock in the 21st minute. Suresh Singh Wangjam made a darting run before laying a pass for Rohit Kumar, but the midfielder’s shot struck the woodwork.
Against the run of play, the Warriors also had a chance just after the half-hour mark. Finding himself in space, Khaiminthang Lhungdim went for glory, but could not trouble Gurpreet Singh Sandhu with his attempt.
The first half ended with Bengaluru missing a flurry of chances in the additional time. Sivasakthi Narayanan found himself through on goal with only the keeper to beat, but Nepal’s Chemjong came up with a spectacular save. The ball landed in Sunil Chhetri’s feet, who found Rohit in space but the latter’s strike was not on target once again.
The second half started in the same fashion, with the Blues producing endless attacks. In the 52nd minute, Udanta found captain Chhetri unmarked inside the box with an accurate cross, and while the former’s header was on target as well, Chemjong came up with another spectacular save.
Two minutes later, Bengaluru had another spectacular chance with Roy Krishna almost opening the scoring for his team, but Valpuia got his body on the line to keep Punjab in the hunt.
However, all of the valiant efforts did not ultimately matter, with Udanta giving Bengaluru the lead in the 66th minute. Pablo Perez struck a fine header from a corner which was saved by Chemjong, but this time around, Udanta was lurking at the right place to tuck home the rebound.
Punjab could not really recover from the blow and things only got worse when Mumbai City loanee, Naocha Singh was handed marching orders. In the additional time, a horrendous tackle by Mohammed Salah earned Bengaluru a penalty, which was slotted home by Javi.