After 49 matches, plenty of goals, and some thrilling football action, the Kalinga Super Cup has its finalists. On January 28th, at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar, East Bengal FC and Odisha FC will battle to win their first title this season. Heading into the finals, both teams have looked very dominant and have faced some fierce competition.
While East Bengal faced teams like Hyderabad and arch-rivals Mohun Bagan in the group stages, Odisha had to face strong teams like FC Goa and Bengaluru to book their spot in the finals. Given their recent form, both teams seem to be equal favorites to win the Super Cup, and it will be interesting to see who thrives in the finals.
Form in the Kalinga Super Cup
In the ongoing Super Cup, East Bengal has been one of the most solid teams and was undefeated in the group stages. The team from Kolkata began their group stage campaign with a solid win over rivals Mohun Bagan and ended with a 3-2 victory against Hyderabad FC. In the knockout stages, East Bengal faced ISL powerhouse Jamshedpur FC and beat them with ease.
Overall, throughout their campaign in the Super Cup, East Bengal FC have looked very decent. While they have been able to fire goals, their defense has also done well to contain. It will be interesting to see how they perform against a formidable Odisha side.
On the other hand, Odisha FC also has been dominant in their group. Despite sharing the group with major teams like FC Goa and Bengaluru FC, Odisha did not let this factor intimidate them and ended their group stage campaign without a single defeat. In the knockout stages of the tournament, Odisha defeated Mumbai City FC with a score of 1-0 to book their place in the finals.
Overall, Odisha manager Sergio Lobera will be very happy with how his team’s defense has looked in the tournament. In the four games they have played in the Super Cup, Odisha registered three clean sheets. Their good defensive showing will be crucial against a formidable East Bengal attack.
East Bengal FC: Carles Cuadrat faces no concerns selecting his strongest lineup, with all players fit for the Kalinga Super Cup. The sole absence is Australian Jordan Elsey, sidelined since September due to a Cruciate Ligament Tear.
Odisha FC: Similar to East Bengal, Odisha enters the crucial final without any suspensions or injuries. Consequently, Sergio Lobera is likely to maintain the same lineup that faced Mumbai City FC.
Head to Head record:
Total Matches – 8
East Bengal FC Wins – 1
Odisha FC Wins – 5
Draws – 2
Since East Bengal’s introduction to the Indian Super League, they have faced Odisha seven times. Odisha has emerged victorious in five matches and secured two draws. East Bengal’s lone triumph occurred in 2021 when Anthony Pilkington, Jacques Maghoma, and Bright Enobakhare contributed to a 3-1 win over Odisha. Their encounters have consistently been high-scoring affairs, including two instances of a 6-4 and 6-5 scoreline, both resulting in victories for Odisha. In total, 40 goals have been scored in these eight matches, with East Bengal netting 17 and Odisha 23. The most recent clashes, including the one last month, concluded in draws, the latest being a goalless stalemate.
Probable Starting Lineups:
East Bengal FC – Prabhsukhan Gill(GK), Mohammad Rakip, Jose Pardo, Maher Hijazi, Nishu Kumar, Saul Crespo, Souvik Chakraborty, Vishnu PV, Nandhakumar, Cleiton Silva, Javier Siverio
Odisha FC – Lalthuammawia Ralte(GK), Amey Ranawade, Carlos Delgado, Mourtada Fall, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Puitea, Ahmed Jahouh, Isak Vanlalruatfela, Cy Goddard, Roy Krishna, Diego Mauricio
Odisha FC’s unbeaten run started back in October after a defeat against Kerala Blasters, and since then, they’ve played 15 games, mustering only two draws and winning 13. Sergio Lobera’s squad is currently in outstanding form, outperforming their counterparts, East Bengal. IFTWC predicts a 2-0 victory for Odisha.
However, it is a Cup Final, and East Bengal has proven to be a surprise package this season, and a favorable result for Cuadrat’s team wouldn’t be out of the ordinary. With a sizable contingent of East Bengal fans expected to flood the stadium in support of their team, Odisha faces a formidable challenge to extend their winning streak and secure their second title.
Super Cup Telecast
Venue: Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneshwar
Date and Kickoff time: 28th January 2024, 19:30 IST
Telecast Channel: Sports 18 Network
Streaming Platform: Jio Cinema App and Website
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