Kalinga Super Cup: East Bengal FC's thrilling journey to the final
East Bengal FC's run to the Kalinga Super Cup final has been nothing short of impressive. Here's a recap of their journey.
East Bengal FC became the first team to advance to the Kalinga Super Cup 2024 final, in a convincing manner winning all four matches on their way.
Since making their way to the Indian Super League (ISL) back in 2020, the Kolkata giants have seemingly been a shadow of their former selves, concluding each season in the bottom half of the table. But the announcement of Carles Cuadrat at the helm of East Bengal FC in April 2023, seems to have turned things around for the club. Having made it to the Durand Cup 2023 final, East Bengal FC find themselves in another cup final once again.
In the group stage of the Kalinga Super Cup, the Red and Gold Brigade got the better of Hyderabad FC, Sreenidi Deccan FC, and Mohun Bagan Super Giant to top Group A with nine points off their three matches, scoring as many as eight goals while conceding half the number.
They had to beat Mohun Bagan SG to book their place in the semi-final and did so with a enthralling comeback win against the same opponents who they suffered a defeat against in the Durand Cup 2023 final. In ISL 2023-24, they have recovered after a slow start to the season and are currently sitting at eighth place on the league table midway through the season.
In the Kalinga Super Cup, Carles Cuadrat's side have consistently displayed top-class performances to reach the final. With that, here's a look at the journey in the competition.
Silva’s brace gives East Bengal FC a strong start
East Bengal FC began their Kalinga Super Cup campaign with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Hyderabad FC.
The match featured end-to-end action from the very first minute, providing both sides with numerous opportunities and turning it into a goal-scoring fest. Cleiton Silva's brace, including an exceptional free-kick, along with Saul Crespo's 80th-minute header, secured the win for the Kolkata-based club.
Although Ramhlunchhunga and Nim Dorjee Tamang equalised the scoreline twice for Hyderabad FC in the game, they fell short in the end.
East Bengal FC make it two in two
East Bengal FC picked up their second win in the Kalinga Super Cup when they edged past Sreenidi Deccan FC with a 2-1 scoreline at the Kalinga Stadium Main Pitch.
Goals from Hijazi Maher, in the 12th minute of the match, and Javier Siverio, in the 31st minute, were enough to secure the three points although Sreenidi Deccan FC grabbed a consolation goal through William Alves in stoppage time.
The Kolkata giants dominated the match throughout with Jordanian defender Maher playing a big part in the win, registering a goal and an assist.
A comeback win in the Kolkata Derby
East Bengal FC came from behind to beat arch-rivals Mohun Bagan SG in their final group stage game to secure a spot in the Kalinga Super Cup semi-final.
Hector Yuste scored the opening goal for the Mariners in the 19th minute of the match, but the Red and Gold Brigade clinched the victory by coming from behind with Cleiton Silva scoring in each half along with the second half goal from Nandhakumar Sekar. This was the second win for East Bengal FC agains the Mariners, having beaten earlier beaten them in the group stages of the Durand Cup 2023.
A strong semi-final victory over Jamshedpur FC
In the first semi-final of the Kalinga Super Cup 2024, Cuadrat’s men outplayed Jamshedpur FC, pressurising the Men of Steel with continuous waves of attack throughout the fixture. They secured a solid 2-0 win in the end to make their way into the final.
Hijazi Maher scored his second goal of the tournament, opening the scoring for the Red and Gold Brigade in the 19th minute and giving his team a well-deserved lead. In the 47th minute, Javier Siverio doubled the lead for East Bengal FC, securing a 2-0 victory for the Kolkata side, helping them book their spot in the final. Importantly, East Bengal FC's defence displayed resilience against Jamshedpur FC as they kept a clean sheet for the first time in the tournament.
East Bengal FC will lock horns with Odisha FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar in the final of the Kalinga Super Cup on Sunday.