After a three-year hiatus, the Super Cup has returned, much to the delight of Indian football fans. The qualifiers and first week of games in Super Cup 2023 have resurrected the excitement of the thrilling clashes between Indian Super League and I-League clubs in the best possible way.
However, many participating teams expressed serious concerns regarding the lack of training facilities, accessibility issues, inadequate transportation for players’ luggage, and unprofessional management of the national tournament. Such serious allegations could diminish the popularity and trust people have in the federation and state associations.
Upon analyzing the matches, some games were dominant while others were end-to-end, causing every fan to rethink their ideas about Indian Football. Notably, Sreenidi Deccan FC who impressed in the I-League proved their worth defeating Kerala Blasters and putting up a strong performance against Bengaluru. Additionally, ATK Mohun Bagan, Kerala Blasters, Hyderabad, Mumbai City, and Chennaiyin all secured victories in their respective matches.
We take a look at how the teams fared in their first week of Super Cup 2023 campaign.
Bengaluru share spoils with I-League runners up, while Kerala Blasters defeats the champions
Sreenidi Deccan FC, who was this season’s I-League runners up, put up an astounding display of courage against Bengaluru FC, who where runners up in ISL, in the very first game of the tournament. Both teams put up a tough fight in the game, but Sreenidi Deccan displayed remarkable spirit and enthusiasm, proving they have the courage to take on top division teams in the Indian top tier league. Bengaluru FC opened the scoring just nine minutes into the game through Javi Hernandez, but Sreeniddi fought back and equalized with a goal from Faysal Shayesteh. Despite both teams having opportunities to score, the game ultimately ended in a draw.
Kerala Blasters FC’s 3-1 victory over the reigning I-League champions, RoundGlass Punjab FC, was a major talking point on the first day of the Super Cup 2023. Kerala displayed superiority in terms of quality and winning mentality, excelling in most areas of the field. RoundGlass Punjab faced significant pressure from the Blasters, but they deserve appreciation for their excellent display of football, keeping the ball at their feet despite the high pressure. Dimitrios, Nishu, and Rahul were the goal scorers for KBFC, while Krishnananda Singh, who came on as a substitute in the second half, was the sole scorer for RoundGlass Punjab FC.
Hyderabad FC collect win against Aizawl while East Bengal and Odisha split points
The whole 90 minutes of the game between Aizawl and Hyderabad saw the latter as the commanding team, pulling all the strings to perfection. Hyderabad fought hard from the first minute, and their efforts paid off when Joel Chianese tapped in the first goal of the game. Aizawl lost their grip on the game when they conceded a penalty, which was converted by Nizam’s Brazilian midfielder Joao Victor. The only consolation goal for Aizawl came from Ivan Veras, with a long-range dipping attempt in the last minute of stoppage time.
In the game between Odisha FC and East Bengal, Odisha was slightly ahead but failed to capitalize on their chances, which eventually proved to be a backlash for the purple team. Diego Mauricio, who recently signed a two-year extension with the Juggernauts, was the most dangerous player on the field, creating and attempting multiple chances against East Bengal. It was, however, East Bengal who opened the scoring through Mobashir, who capitalized on a silly mistake made by Narender Gahlot. Odisha fought back hard, and Diego himself opened up a chance for Nandhakumar, who scored. The match was slow-paced and ended in a 1-1 draw.
ATK Mohun Bagan and Jamshedpur FC emerge victorious in thrilling goal fests
ATK Mohun Bagan, the reigning champions of Hero ISL, dominated Gokulam Kerala FC by winning 5-1, making them one of the top contenders for the Super Cup trophy. Liston Colaco scored two stunning goals in the first half, which caught Gokulam Kerala off guard, and Hugo Boumous added a third. The second half was no different, as the Mariners took the game with one goal each from Manvir and Nassiri. Gokulam Kerala’s only response was a solitary goal from Sergio Mendigutxia.
Jamshedpur FC surprised FC Goa with a 5-3 victory after a rather disappointing ISL campaign. It was a thrilling display of end-to-end football with both teams evenly trying to outdo each other.
In the first half, Jamshedpur FC was understandably the better team, scoring three goals through Pratik, Crivellaro, and Pronay. However, FC Goa was the team who had opened the scoring with Noah Sadaoui’s goal. In the second half, FC Goa fought back and scored two goals from Iker and Noah. But Jamshedpur FC bypassed FC Goa’s defense by netting in two more goals from Crivellaro and Sawyer, and finished the game in an 8-goal thriller.
Mumbai City and Chennaiyin FC possess the winning formula
Mumbai City FC who mastered the game of comebacks registered a fine win over Churchill Brothers FC with an all Indian squad which is commendable in all views. Churchill Brothers scored the first goal of the game from a nasty mistake made by Mumbai City goalkeeper Phurba, which was taken advantage of by Ansumana Kromah, making it 1-0.
Mumbai City showed resilience and character to fight back, resulting in a goal by Mehtab, from a sublime delivery laid off by Rowlin Borges from a set-piece. Mumbai showed the resilience and character to secure a victory, which eventually earned them 3 points courtesy to an injury-time goal from Lallianzuala Chhangte, who was the Hero of the League in ISL this season.
Chennaiyin FC kicked off their Super Cup campaign with an impressive start, defeating Northeast United FC with a brace from Rahim Ali. Throughout the 90-minute game, Chennaiyin FC was in complete control. Rahim opened the scoring for Chennaiyin, and Edwin added a sublime goal in the first half. Rochharzela netted one for Northeast United, while Julius Duker made the score 3-1 for the Marina Machans. Rahim completed his brace, bringing the final score to 4 for Chennaiyin FC. In extra time, Laldanmawia Ralte capitalized on a simple mistake, ending the match in a 4-2 scoreline in favor of Chennaiyin FC.
Sreenidhi Deccan leave Kerala Blasters bewildered, while Bengaluru FC emerge victorious against RoundGlass Punjab.
Sreenidi Deccan has again made their name amongst Indian football fraternity because of their resilience to defeat Kerala Blasters FC in fashion. David Casteneda proved to be a thorn in the Blasters’ defense, causing trouble throughout the match.
Rilwan Hassan opened the scoring for Sreenidi, and they continued to dominate the match, catching Kerala off guard once again when Castaneda scored a stunning volley to the far post, making it 2-0 before the end of the first half. Despite their efforts, Kerala Blasters couldn’t make a comeback in the second half, and Sreenidi sealed a well-deserved victory.
Bengaluru FC secured a victory over I-League champions RoundGlass Punjab FC, who suffered their second loss in the Super Cup 2023. Bengaluru’s dominance kept RoundGlass on their toes, and although the Blues missed several chances to score in the first half, they continued to pose a significant threat. Rohit Kumar had two golden chances to convert but failed to do so.
The substitution of Udanta Singh changed the game’s dynamic as he scored the first goal, and was a constant headache for RoundGlass’ defense. Javi Hernandez was brought down in the 95th minute, earning Bengaluru a penalty which the Spaniard himself converted, ending the game with a scoreline of 2-0.
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