Hero Super Cup 2023, group stage: Key takeaways from round two
The second round of the group stages of the Hero Super Cup ended with NorthEast United FC’s win over Hero Indian Super League (ISL) League Shield Winners Mumbai City FC.
At the end of round two, the fate of three out of the four groups is yet to be decided as we are set for a grand finale to the group stage as clubs fight for the semi-final spots.
Before the final round of matches commences, here’s a look at key takeaways from the second round of matches
Blasters, Bengaluru FC locked in virtual quarter-final
Kerala Blasters FC have left themselves all to do in their final group match against rivals Bengaluru FC, who themselves need a result to secure a place in the semi-finals. The Yellow Army were beaten by Sreenidi Deccan 2-0 in round two of the group stage which has taken their fate out of their own hands.
They now must beat Bengaluru FC in the final game and hope Sreenidi Deccan fail to win against RoundGlass Punjab FC.
Bengaluru FC had to work hard to beat the Punjab outfit but goals from Udanta Singh and Javi Herandez in the second half gave them the victory. The Blues will have to match or better Sreenidi Deccan’s result in the final game and if the two teams finish level on points, the Blues will advance if they have a superior goal difference.
Missed opportunity for East Bengal
East Bengal FC produced an excellent first-half performance against Hyderabad FC that saw them take a 3-1 lead into the interval. But Stephen Copnstantine’s men’s struggles of protecting leads came back to haunt them as Hyderabad FC made a stunning second-half comeback to claw back a point.
The Red and Golds no longer have their fate in their own hands as they would now need to beat Aizawl FC and hope Hyderabad FC and Odisha FC draw their encounter. Even in that case, East Bengal will have to have a superior goal difference than both teams.
As for Odisha FC and Hyderabad FC, it’s a case of winner takes all in their final match.
Jamshedpur FC book semi-final spot in style
It would be fair to say that Jamshedpur FC have been the team of the group stage so far and are the only team to have booked their passage to the next round. They did it in emphatic style with a 3-0 win over Hero ISL champions ATK Mohun Bagan.
It was a display of astute defending and brilliant counter-attacking play from Aidy Boothroyd’s men who had beaten FC Goa 5-3 in their first encounter.
Boris Singh was the star of the show as he netted a brace showcasing his eye for goal before Harry Sawyer iced the cake with a third goal in stoppage time. The Red Miners are looking like the team to beat in this Hero Super Cup.
Highlanders stun Islanders
NorthEast United FC put a disappointing Hero ISL campaign behind to shock Mumbai City FC in the Hero Super Cup on Saturday.
A brace from Wilmar Jordan Gil gave the Highlanders all three points and a lifeline in Group D as Lalengmawia Ralte’s late goal for the Islanders proved to be a mere consolation.
Chennaiyin FC who only managed a draw against Churchill Brothers are now in the box seat in the group. Their encounter with Mumbai City FC on the final day is a virtual quarter-final. However, Mumbai City FC would need NorthEast United FC to fail to beat Churchill Brothers in their final game to have any chance of progressing to the next round.