Hero Super Cup: Key factors behind Odisha FC's historic title triumph
Odisha FC reached the Hero Super Cup 2023 final after going undefeated in the tournament. The final against Bengaluru FC was the first-ever final for the club and the Kalinga Warriors made the most of the opportunity, putting up a strong performance to get the better of the Blues.
The 2022-23 season will be remembered by Odisha FC fans for a long time. The Hero Indian Super League (ISL) side qualified for the Hero ISL playoffs for the first time in history. To top it off, they ended their season with the Hero Super Cup title by beating Bengaluru FC, which was the first silverware for the Bhubaneswar-based club.
Odisha FC reached the Hero Super Cup 2023 final after going undefeated in the tournament. The final against Bengaluru FC was the first-ever final for the club and the Kalinga Warriors made the most of the opportunity, putting up a strong performance to get the better of the Blues. It’s been a stellar campaign for Odisha FC,who finished the campaign with four wins and a draw while scoring 11 goals across five games.
Here are the key highlights from their Hero Super Cup journey:
A statement win over Hyderabad FC
With both sides level on points, Odisha FC took on Hyderabad FC in their final group stage clash, with an opportunity for the winner to seal a berth in the Hero Super Cup semi-final. It was the biggest test of the tournament for Clifford Miranda’s side, but a brave comeback saw them overcome the challenge.
It was Hyderabad FC who took an early lead, but that didn’t deter Odisha FC morale. They mounted a fightback and kept the pressure on before Diego Mauricio scored the equaliser. In a game where that had equal chances for both sides, Victor Rodriguez sealed the deal for the OFC with a late winner. The win over last season’s Hero ISL champions was crucial in providing them the belief that they could go all the way.
Mauricio leading the way
Mauricio has been arguably the most standout player of the Hero Super Cup, playing a massive part in his side’s title triumph. The Brazilian finished as the leading goalscorer for Odisha FC in the tournament with five goals to his name and had a goal contribution in all of his side’s games.
Mauricio had finished the Hero ISL 2022-23 season winning the Golden Boot award and he continued his fine form in the tournament. He was unlucky not to find the net in Odisha FC’s opening game against East Bengal FC, but got on the scoresheet in four straight games including the final.
Odisha FC’s sturdy backline
Odisha FC’s title triumph would not have been possible without a solid defensive record. They might have only registered one clean sheet throughout the course of the tournament, but conceded just four goals across five games, the joint-best record in the tournament.
Captain Carlos Delgado marshalled the backline with his experience and leadership, while in goal Amrinder Singh produced some crucial saves for his side.
It is a rare sight to see Indian coaches winning accolades at the top level. On Tuesday, Clifford Miranda became the first Indian head coach to win a major trophy for an Hero ISL club.
Miranda took charge as head coach of Odisha FC after the Hero ISL 2022-23 season after the departure of Josep Gombau. Not many would have touted Odisha FC to make it past the group stage after the club parted ways with Gombau. But Miranda brought in new ideas, with his team playing like a cohesive unit. He reinforced the midfield playing with a trio of Victor Rodriguez, Princeton Rebello and Thoiba Singh while instilling confidence in his young players.
“I hope this increases the belief that club owners have in Indian coaches. Having said that, I also think that as Indian coaches, the onus is upon us to get better, and to work harder. It is one thing to say that we are not given opportunities, but we must be able to convince the club owners and the decision makers that we are capable of doing good things,” said Miranda after his side’s win.