Bengaluru, Goa remain in the hunt for Hero Super Cup Final berth
The quarter-final stage of the inaugural Hero Super Cup concluded on Friday, with two Hero Indian Super League (ISL) heavyweights - Bengaluru FC and FC Goa, making it to the semi-finals. Both the clubs carried over their form and vigour from the league to the knockout competition, stamping their dominance on both the fixtures they featured in. Here we take a look at how both the teams fared and what lies ahead in their road to book a Final berth.
The 2017-18 finalists entered the competition as one of the favourites to take the trophy home, based on the kind of dominating performance they displayed throughout the league. After missing out on the final hurdle to Chennaiyin FC, the Blues look more determined to end the season with a much-deserved silverware and gift their passionate fans something to rejoice about.
After Udanta Singh’s injury-time winner won them the pre-quarter final match against Gokulam Kerala FC, Bengaluru geared up to take on Hero I-League 2017-18 runners-up NEROCA FC in the quarter-finals. The Manipur-based club was high on confidence after registering a brilliant comeback victory against Kerala Blasters FC and entered the match with intent. However, Bengaluru captain Sunil Chhetri put up another stunning performance by scoring a perfect hat-trick to take his club to the Semi-finals with a 3-1 win.
In their quest to reach their second Final over two months, Bengaluru will lock horns with former foes, Mohun Bagan. The two clubs had last met in the final of the 2017 Federation Cup, where the Blues had managed to topple the Kolkata giants to win 2-0 and pick up the coveted trophy. But Bagan will not allow that loss to pour water on their plans and will take enough confidence from the experience present in the squad and the huge legacy they have behind their back. India will surely be a witness to a riveting encounter as two heavyweights meet on Tuesday at Bhubaneswar.
The 2017-18 semi-finalists, on the other hand, grabbed headlines across the country for their attacking firepower fuelled by the lethal Spanish combination of Ferran Corominas and Manuel Lanzarote. Though the Gaurs lost the semi-finals to eventual champions Chennaiyin FC, they have carried on their potent attacking strength into the Hero Super Cup, where they have been equally adept at crumbling defences.
After defeating the two-time Hero ISL champions ATK 3-1, the Gaurs set up a quarter-final clash with Jamshedpur, against whom they were yet to lose a game. However, their 5-1 hammering of the Hero ISL debutants took a backseat, as what made the headlines was the sending-off of six players (three from either team) for showing dissent during the halftime break. With an 8-vs-8 match on the cards in the second half, Goa managed to crumple Jamshedpur’s famed defence and end with a rampant win.
Now, the Gaurs will gear up to face the other Kolkata giant and a club laden with both history and legacy, East Bengal. The clubs have never met before in any competitive game and hence will be entering uncharted waters on Monday. Both have the best offensive record in their respective leagues this season and thus, a battle of equals is on the cards for their fans. Now, all eyes will be at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, where the better team on the field will rightfully earn the Final spot.