After an exciting first week of the Hero Super Cup 2023, we have witnessed the thrilling clashes between the ISL and I-League clubs in the best probable manner. Even in the second week upon analyzing the games, we figured out that some games were one-sided, while others were end-to-end affairs, and some results even surprised everyone. Hence making every football fan rethink their presumptions about the competitiveness level between the two leagues in India, and also their expectations from each team.
We take a glance at how the teams fared in their second week of the Hero Super Cup 2023, as the places for the Semi-Finals were decided at the end of the third group stage game. Group A winners Bengaluru FC will be facing off against Group C toppers Jamshedpur FC on the 21st of April in the first match of the semi-final at the EMS Stadium, Kozhikode.
Meanwhile, in the second semi-final game the Group B winners Odisha FC will be up against the Group D toppers NorthEast United FC on the 22nd of April at the Manjeri Stadium, Payyanad. Both the matches will kick off at 7:00 PM IST and will be live streamed in the FanCode App/Jio TV/Sony Liv and also telecasted live on the Sony Sports 2 channel.
East Bengal FC and Hyderabad FC played out a thrilling draw, while Odisha FC won against Aizawl FC
In the first game, Odisha FC defeated Aizawl FC 3-0, with Diego Mauricio taking center stage. For the opening 45 minutes of the game, Aizawl FC and Odisha FC were well-matched, with both teams having an equal amount of ball control and scoring opportunities. Over the course of the next 15 minutes, Aizawl FC took control of the match and had two opportunities to score the first goal. However, there were plenty of chances for both teams before halftime.
Odisha FC’s winger Isak Vanlalruatfela, found himself facing off against Vanlalhriatpuia alone. However, the keeper did well to parry his shot and keep the score level going into halftime. The ball appeared to be heading for the top corner when the 21-year-old dribbled in from the left flank and attempted an incredible shot from beyond the area early in the second half, giving Isak his second consecutive chance to score. But once more, it was Vanlalhriatpuia who stepped in at the last minute to save Aizawl FC.
In the 47th minute, a subsequent corner led to the first goal. Odisha FC took the lead when Diego Mauricio pounced on a loose ball and poked it home from close range. A second goal was added by Odisha FC in the 55th minute. To increase his team’s lead this time, Victor Rodriguez displayed great footwork inside the penalty area to evade a defender and score. Following then, Clifford Miranda’s team absolutely dominated the match.
In the second minute of additional time, Nandha Kumar Sekar made it 3-0 to seal the victory. Diego Mauricio fired a ferocious shot that Vanlalhriatpuia expertly blocked, but Nandha was there to score from the rebound. Lalmalsawma fouled Diego Mauricio in the penalty area during the fourth minute of stoppage time which allowed Mauricio another chance to score. The Aizawl FC custodian, however, bravely turned away the Brazilian’s penalty.
On Thursday, at Kerala’s Manjeri Payyanad Stadium, Hyderabad FC and East Bengal FC produced a dramatic 3-3 tie in the Hero Super Cup. Earlier, Odisha FC had defeated Aizawl FC 3-0. The second game, which was the better of the two on the day, featured a goal-fest with braces from Naorem Mahesh Singh and Javier Siverio for their respective teams. Young Abdul Rabeeh and veteran player VP Suhair both scored a goal each as well to tie the match.
East Bengal FC had taken control early in the match and took the lead in the fourth minute when they found the Hyderabad FC defense high up the pitch, allowing winger Naorem Mahesh Singh to slip back home after going around the goalkeeper. After conceding early on, Hyderabad FC intensified the pressure, and it paid off shortly after East Bengal FC scored the game’s first goal. Javier Siverio was the first to react to a Halicharan Narzary cross and head in the equalizer to reverse East Bengal FC’s advantage.
With a torrent of attacks, East Bengal FC swiftly took the lead after VP Suhair hammered the ball past Gurmeet Singh from a tight angle. Within the opening 30 minutes of play, the game saw three rapid goals. Right before halftime, Naorem Mahesh Singh pulled off his brace, giving the team a comfortable two-goal advantage. As Javier Siverio slide past Kamaljit Singh who had attempted to stop him from completing his brace but failed and it became 3-2 for Hyderabad FC, the team was able to get back in the contest.
Manolo Marquez’s substitute paid off as Abdul Rabeeh scored the third and final goal of the game to complete his team’s comeback from being two goals down. Goalkeeper Kamaljit Singh of East Bengal FC stepped up and produced a spectacular stop in the final moments of the game to prevent Hyderabad FC from scoring the winning goal. Hyderabad FC’s Borja Herrera had struck an enormous shot that appeared heading for the top corner. Both teams settled for a share of the spoils in a chaotic football match.
Jamshedpur FC reached the semi-final, while ATK Mohun Bagan and FC Goa bowed out
Iker Guarrotxena’s late winner against Gokulam Kerala in the first game of the day had kept FC Goa’s hopes alive before Jamshedpur FC brought an end to it with a victory against ATK Mohun Bagan. The Gaurs have had numerous opportunities to end the stalemate, notably through Iker Guarrotxena. The team led by Carlos Pena was dominating possession, with Gokulam taking advantage of the occasional attacking openings.
The first 45 minutes were mostly without events in the game. FC Goa was more willing to score, but their forwards lacked the finishing touch and failed to take advantage of their opportunities. However, Gokulam Kerala was reduced to being just spectators when it came to attacking since there were so many offsides given against them whenever the Malabarians had advanced to attack. FC Goa wasted no time in approaching the box of Gokulam in the second half.
Shibin appeared to make a goal-line save to block Chote’s strong shot. Shibin also stopped a deflected shot by Brison that came in after the rebound. Noor brilliantly overhead passes Mendi through on goal near the third quarter of the game, but Mendi took one touch too many, allowing Arshdeep to advance and stop Mendi’s shot. A draw would not benefit either team’s chances of winning the match. Both were exerting effort, but neither had the clinical finishing required to break the deadlock. Furthermore, Gokulam’s defense appeared unbreakable. FC Goa ultimately broke the scoreless tie in the game’s eleventh hour.
When he got in inside Gokulam Kerala FC’s defense, Noah Sadaoui appeared to be on the verge of securing the late victory. However, Shibin Raj blocked his shot. Iker Guarrotxena took advantage of the rebound to score his 13th goal of the season from close range before the team celebrated with Brandon Fernandes’ shirt since the captain was absent from the game due to personal issues.
With a 3-0 victory over ATK Mohun Bagan, Jamshedpur FC became the first club to qualify for the Hero Super Cup 2023 semifinals. at the Kozhikode EMS Stadium in a Group C game. The Mariners and FC Goa were both eliminated as a result of it. Jamshedpur FC defeated the Hero ISL champions with a decisive victory thanks to a brace from Boris Singh and a late goal from Harry Sawyer. This victory propelled Jamshedpur FC to the Hero Super Cup’s round of four.
ATK Mohun Bagan got the match started swiftly holding Jamshedpur FC in their own half. However, Aidy Boothroyd’s men handled the pressure effectively and gradually began to pose a threat to the Mariners on the break. In the ninth minute, Vishal Kaith made a fantastic stop to divert Ritwik Das’ shot wide. For Juan Ferrando’s team, who started to open up again in the 21st minute, it was a foreboding indication. The Red Miners took the lead after a well-executed play saw the ball reach Rafael Crivellaro’s feet, where it was fed to an eager Boris for a tap-in at the far post.
Four minutes later, ATK Mohun Bagan was close to conceding once again when Vishal Kaith, who had come off his line to clear the ball, failed his attempt. Fortunately, Pritam Kotal had arrived to make a goal-line clearance. In the 36th minute, Daniel Chima Chukwu’s goal was disallowed for offside. However, it only took Jamshedpur FC five more minutes to double their lead when Ritwik slipped past the ATK Mohun Bagan defense and set up Boris for his second goal of the game. Going into halftime, the Red Miners had a commanding 2-0 lead.
In the second half, Ferrando’s team came out much more determined, but they were unable to find any chances because of Jamshedpur FC’s sturdy defense. Seven minutes from then, ATK Mohun Bagan came very close to reducing the deficit in half as Asish Rai’s exquisite cross almost hit his teammate, but Jamshedpur FC got players back and managed to scramble it away. With a third goal, Sawyer put an end to the Red Miners’ victory, ending the Mariners’ challenge and thus also securing their spot in the semi-final.
NorthEast United FC demolish Mumbai City FC, and Chennaiyin FC settle for a draw
In their second Group D encounter of the Hero Super Cup 2023, Chennaiyin FC and Churchill Brothers drew 0-0 on Saturday at the Payyanad Stadium in Manjeri, Kerala. Chennaiyin, who entered the game fresh off a victory over NorthEast United FC, dominated right away. They got off to a strong start and maintained applying pressure on opponents with their aggressive strategy. Although the Marina Machans had sixty-one percent of the possession, numerous goal-scoring opportunities, including seven corners, no success in converting any of them to goal in the first half.
The Anirudh Thapa-led team had one such opportunity as early as the sixth minute when they nearly started the scoring from a corner but the opposition defenders somehow managed to clear the ball. Aakash Sangwan, the hero of the previous game, was again involved when his close-range header almost missed the goal just before halftime. This happened on a number of occasions throughout the game.
Churchill Brothers had trouble keeping the ball initially, but they regrouped after the break and played with more tenacity in the second half, which featured intense battle on both ends. Richard Costa received his second yellow card of the game for pulling down Mohammad Rafique five minutes before the final whistle, reducing the Hero I-League side to 10 men. In the final period, both sides tried all they could to score a goal, but they were ultimately unsuccessful. As a result, the teams shared the points and the game finished in a draw.
At the Payyanad Stadium in Manjeri, Kerala, NorthEast United FC defeated Mumbai City FC 2-1 in a Hero Super Cup Group D clash. The outcome gave the Highlanders a major boost while maintaining their chances of making the semi-finals. The Highlanders started the match in a style that allowed them to settle early and then foster pressure on Mumbai City FC as they had entered the contest after losing the first game.
After 30 minutes, Colombian forward Wilmar Jordan made the pressure pay off by scoring from the penalty spot. NorthEast United FC put forth a respectable performance against top-tier opposition to lead by one goal at the interval. The Highlanders started the second half in the same way, and they quickly added to their lead when Colombian striker Wilmar Jordan scored to give himself a brace and double the lead for his team. This gave them breathing room and a cushion to the Highlanders for the rest of the game.
The second goal right at the start of the second half made it more difficult for the Islanders to get back in the game, and their strategy was instantly scrapped as Mumbai City FC struggled to get going in the match. In the second half, the League Shield Winners attempted to rebound, but the opposition had other ideas, maintaining low defensive blocks to frustrate all of the Islanders’ assaults. Apuia scored the game’s lone goal for the Islanders in the final five minutes of play, and despite their best efforts to score again, their efforts were unsuccessful. In the closing few minutes of the game, NorthEast United FC maintained their discipline and composure.
Bengaluru FC reach the semi-finals after a draw against Kerala Blasters FC, Roundglass Punjab beat Sreenidi Deccan FC
Bengaluru FC advanced to the Hero Super Cup semifinals, with a 1-1 draw against Kerala Blasters FC on Sunday, while RoundGlass Punjab defeated Sreenidi Deccan 1-0 in the other Group A match. Bengaluru FC took the lead in the first half thanks to a goal from Roy Krishna, but Kerala Blasters FC tied the score with a goal from Dimitri Diamantakos, setting up an exciting climax to the game. The Blues eventually managed to hang on for one point, which was sufficient to get them through. The match between the two Hero ISL heavyweights got off to a fantastic start with both sides playing at a fast pace.
In the initial exchanges, there wasn’t much to choose between the two teams. Bengaluru FC midfielder Javi Hernandez supplied the spark when he made a darting move toward the center of the Kerala Blasters FC defense to set up Krishna, who scored after two efforts which included a rebound shot off the feet of Sachin Suresh. With the goal as motivation, the Blues took control of the game and put Kerala Blasters FC on the defensive. When Udanta Singh did well to locate Roshan Naorem in space inside the Kerala Blasters FC box just before halftime, the Blues had a great opportunity to extend their lead. However, the full-back utterly missed his kick for the ball, and Bengaluru FC’s crucial opportunity to win the match was lost.
Bengaluru FC was pushed back in the second half by Kerala Blasters FC, who started the second half with more purpose. The Yellow Army worked tirelessly to get an equalizer while the Blues were content to guard what they had. In the 66th minute, Nishu Kumar fired a fierce shot goalward that caused Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to make a stop. However, Diamantakos scored eleven minutes later with a looping header over the Indian custodian after Bengaluru FC’s failed attempt to clear a Kerala Blasters FC cross in the 77th minute.
Ten minutes before the end of the game, Vibin Mohanan fired one from a distance, forcing Gurpreet to make another stop. This time, though, Sandhu was up to the challenge. Bengaluru FC persevered under mounting pressure from Kerala Blasters FC and earned a spot in the semifinals, while RoundGlass Punjab upset Sreenidi Deccan FC in the other Group A encounter thanks to a goal from Valpuia.
East Bengal draw with Aizawl FC, Odisha FC edge past Hyderabad FC to reach the semi-finals
A 2-2 tie between East Bengal FC and Aizawl FC in a Group B match at the Payyanad stadium resulted in East Bengal FC’s elimination from the 2023 Hero Super Cup. Naorem Mahesh Singh, a recent addition to the India national team, led East Bengal’s assault for most of the game and scored the game’s first goal in the 17th minute. Mahesh was brilliantly set up by Cleiton Silva to cut inside the box and cross the ball to the middle of the area. However, his cross took a wicked deflection and went into the Aizawl goal. Moments later, Mobashir Rahman had a wonderful opportunity to increase the advantage when he received a loose ball just outside the area but missed the target.
The one-way traffic continued. Five minutes after the opener, East Bengal had doubled their lead. From a VP Suhair cross, Sumeet Passi rose highest to head it into an empty net after Aizawl FC goalkeeper Vanlalhriatpuia got his angles wrong in an attempt to punch the ball clear. At the time, a rout looked in the offing, Constantine’s side was not just dominant on the ball, but menacing and adventurous with it too.
The reality, however, hit just before halfway as Aizawl scored a goal against the flow of the game. Akito Saito, a defender, moved upfield before David Lalhlansanga received a through pass from him. David took advantage of the opportunity and shot from a tight angle. The initial shot was saved by Kamaljit, but the rebound fell directly to Lalhruaitluanga, who maintained his cool to score. As if that weren’t enough, Aizawl equalized shortly after the restart thanks to David Lalhlansanga, an architect, artist, and magician, who conjured the goal for his team.
Kamaljit skillfully cleared Akito Saito’s long ball into the East Bengal penalty area. Aizawl was about to break through when the custodian hurried off his line to knock the ball clear, but his clearing dropped right to David 40 yards from the goal. To the surprise of practically everyone in the stadium, the forward took his shot and it soared in. East Bengal failed to generate a clear-cut opportunity in the second half and never really recovered from the setback. As a result, East Bengal was eliminated without recording a single victory.
Odisha FC came from behind to book their tickets for the semi-finals of the Hero Super Cup with a 2-1 victory against Hyderabad FC in their final fixture of Group B at the Payyanad Stadium in Manjeri, Kerala on Monday. Javier Siverio gave Hyderabad FC the lead in the game in the first half but a strong second half saw Odisha make a comeback with goals from Diego Mauricio and Victor Rodriguez. Head Coach Manolo Marquez’s men finished the match with 10 players after keeper Gurmeet Singh was shown the red card in the dying moments of the game.
The fixture started with both teams looking to dominate the proceedings, Odisha FC created quick attacks and had a couple of close calls on the corners but Hyderabad FC scored the opening goal when Javier Siverio headed in Borja Herrera’s corner in the 11th minute. The duo of Diego Mauricio and Nandha Kumar Sekar combined in the 18th minute only for the latter to shoot at Hyderabad FC’s diving Gurmeet Singh.
The second half began with Hyderabad FC getting the chance to double their lead with an inviting cross for Siverio who headed it wide. From one end and to another, Odisha FC scored the equalizer after a low corner was flicked on at the near post and Mauricio was at the end of the scramble to head the ball in to bring Clifford Miranda’s men back into the match and the competition. The continuous pressure for Clifford Miranda’s men paid off as they completed the comeback two minutes after the prior chance, Mauricio dribbled his way in from the right wing to set up an inch-perfect through ball to the far post and Victor Rodriguez was at the right spot and time to tap the ball in the empty net.
The last action of the match came with Gurmeet Singh of Hyderabad FC receiving his marching orders after bringing down Mauricio who was through on goal, Joao Victor stepped in the goal as Marquez’s men finished the match with 10 players. With this comeback win, Odisha FC qualified for the semi-finals of the Hero Super Cup after beating Hyderabad FC in the final fixture of the group and becoming group winners.
Jamshedpur FC continued their winning streak, while FC Goa edged past ATK Mohun Bagan
Jamshedpur FC maintained their perfect winning record in the Hero Super Cup as they beat Gokulam Kerala FC 3-2 in a brilliant see-saw game at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode, Kerala, on Tuesday. Harry Sawyer, Farukh Choudhary, and Ishan Pandita provided the goals for the Red Miners while Samuel Konney bagged a brace for the Hero I-League side. Jamshedpur FC head coach Aidy Boothroyd chose to field a new-look team for the game against Gokulam with most regular starters being rested for the semi-finals against Bengaluru FC.
As the game reached the half-hour mark, Gokulam Kerala broke the deadlock with a play down the middle, and was netted in comfortably by Samuel Konney. Jamshedpur FC was quick to respond with the equalizer just six minutes after the opening goal. A precise through ball from Germanpreet Singh into the box was slotted in with an easy finish by Harry Sawyer. The first half ended on equal terms for both sides.
In the 60th minute, Farukh Choudhary gave Jamshedpur FC the lead with a beautiful touch to beat his marker and a composed finish from a tight angle at the end of a set piece. The goalscorer for the Kerala side, Samuel Konney found the back of the net once more to bring his team back into the mix. The Men of Steel fought back, however, and took the lead again as striker Ishan Pandita scored from a low-driven shot down the middle. The thrilling clash came to an end with all three points in the bag for Jamshedpur FC and a semi-final clash to come.
FC Goa ended their campaign on a high note as they secured a 1-0 win over newly crowned Indian Super League champions ATK Mohun Bagan in their final group stage of the Hero Super Cup at the EMS Corporation Stadium in the later game. Both sides were looking to finish their campaign in a positive way having already been eliminated from the competition. The Gaurs finished second in Group C just behind Jamshedpur FC while the Mariners ended their campaign in third place with only one win in the first match against Gokulam Kerala FC.
FC Goa had enjoyed most of the possession in the opening half and certainly settled well in the game. The first real chance of the game came in the third minute when Noah Sadaoui swung in a teasing ball with the outside of his boot, but Brison Fernandes failed to keep his header on target. Ashique Kuruniyan registered the first shot on target for the Mariners after a couple of twists and tricks from his boot. Arshdeep Singh denied his effort for a corner, which caused no harm. Moments later, Liston Colaco pounced on a miscued clearance and rushed quickly toward the goal, before attempting a shot that the FC Goa custodian Arshdeep Singh had comfortably parried away.
On the cusp of the half-time break, Glan Martins caught Arshdeep off the line, as the former went for a spectacular attempt from the halfway line but the keeper gathered it comfortably in the end. ATK Mohun Bagan looked more compact at the back as the Carlos Pena-coached team failed to register any shots on goal in the first half. Despite that, it was FC Goa who started quicker after the interval. Fifteen minutes past the second half, Santana curled a wonderful effort from a freekick but missed the target only by a few inches. Moments later, Colaco took everyone by surprise as he went for his trademark effort from a distance but the winger failed to hit the target this time around.
Juan Ferrando made a couple of switches in search of a goal as he brought in the likes of Hugo Boumous and Manvir Singh for the final quarter of the game. Substitutions were made for the Gaurs as well and they continued to mount their pressure on the opposition half. Fares Arnaout broke the deadlock one minute before the end of the regulation time when Sadaoui floated into a corner from the right side and Kaith took his eye off completely as he failed to get a hold of the ball. Fares was right there in the right place at the right time as he headed it into an empty net to seal the three points for the Gaurs. In stoppage time, Goa made two crucial saves to win the game, as the Mariners had a final chance to get an equalizer when Manvir made a marauding run before unleashing a shot straight into the hands of Arshdeep.
NorthEast United FC secured the semi-final spot, while Mumbai City FC saw off Chennaiyin FC
NorthEast United FC put in a blistering performance to thump Churchill Brothers FC and secured qualification for the Hero Super Cup semi-finals in style. Wilmar Jordan Gil netted four goals while Gani Nigam and Jithin MS scored one each as the Highlanders ran out 6-3 winners in their final Group D game at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode, Kerala. NorthEast United FC came out of their blocks and put Churchill Brothers FC under pressure right from the beginning of the game. The NEUFC skipper emerged to be a headache for the Goan side.
As the clock struck 27 minutes, the NEUFC skipper finally got his name on the scoresheet with an imposing strike into the top corner from 25 yards out. The Highlanders scored their second goal before the half-time break as Gil slotted it into an empty net. With Churchill Brothers needing to push men forward for the equalizer, the attack was the best form of defense for NorthEast United FC and they rightfully did so. The Colombian forward completed his hat-trick in the 51st minute when he stretched his leg at the near post to turn Tondonba’s excellent delivery into the net. Three minutes later, Churchill Brothers FC pulled one back through Kingslee Fernandes. Martin Chaves reduced the deficit further for the Goan side by scoring a stunning free-kick from the edge of the penalty box.
Gil scored his fourth of the night and made it 4-2 for the Highlanders with a composed left-footed strike. NEUFC extended their lead further with Kerala duo Jithin MS and Gani Nigam combining well inside the opposition’s final third, with the latter providing the finishing touch. Churchill Brothers FC had their third goal of the night as NEUFC defender Mohammed Irshad headed into his own goal. However, the Highlanders restored their three-goal lead in stoppage time when Jithin MS found the back of the net with a great finish and NorthEast United FC stormed into the semi-finals of the Hero Super Cup where they will face Odisha FC.
Mumbai City FC, winners of the ISL League Shield, exited the Hero Super Cup 2023 despite defeating a talented Chennaiyin FC team by a score of 1-0 at the Payyanad Stadium in Manjeri, Kerala, in the other matchup in Group D. The Islanders’ lone goal was scored by Ayush Chhikira off a Bipin Singh cross, giving the all-Indian MCFC team their second victory in the Hero Super Cup. Due to NorthEast United FC’s same amount of points and Mumbai City FC’s lesser Head-to-Head points, the latter team placed second in Group D. Churchill Brothers FC finished the season with one point, while Chennaiyin FC finished third with four points.
Chennaiyin FC started the game on the front foot as predicted given their advantage on paper, but as Mumbai gained some momentum, their wingers continued to dart forward and eventually broke through Chennai’s defense in the 34th minute. Ayush Chhikara scored the game’s opening goal after Bipin Singh neatly squared the ball to him after being passed through on the left flank. The 20-year-old forward sprinted to the team’s head coach Desmond Buckingham to share the memorable occasion of scoring his first-ever goal for the club.
Chennaiyin FC had all the impetus in the second half to push forward and they did. However, Thomas Brdaric’s men couldn’t find the final pass despite getting into dangerous areas. Mumbai City, on the other hand, kept the Chennaiyin defenders on their toes with their occasional counter-attacks. Bipin Singh got through on goal in the 65th minute but his effort from inside the box was parried away by Samik. Meanwhile, substitute Kwame Karikari was visibly the liveliest attacking outlet for the Marina Machans. He continued to get through on a few breaks but Mehtab Singh had marshaled him brilliantly. Some drama unfolded late in the match when the fourth official indicated seven minutes of injury time. Coach Des Buckingham was visibly displeased with the decision and received a yellow card for his protests.
In the second half, Chennaiyin FC had all the motivation they needed to advance, and they did. Thomas Brdaric’s men entered dangerous areas, but they were unable to provide the last pass. Mumbai City, on the other side, occasionally launched a counterattack that had the Chennaiyin defense on their toes. In the 65th minute, Bipin Singh was let through on goal, but Samik parried his attempt from within the box. Kwame Karikari, a substitute, was the Marina Machans’ most active attacking source at the time. He kept making it through with a few breaks, but Mehtab Singh had wonderfully managed him. Late in the game, when the fourth official announced seven minutes of injury time, Coach Des Buckingham appeared to be unhappy with the choice and protested which made him receive a yellow card.
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