Super Cup flashback: How Sergio Lobera's rampant FC Goa triumphed in 2019
Teams from all over the country are gearing up to battle it out for the third edition of the prestigious Hero Super Cup, a competition that is set to return after four years.
As we close in on the Super Cup 2023, here's a recap of the 2019 edition.
After the success of the inaugural edition in 2018, the second edition had added excitement. The tournament was organised at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar where clubs tried to outplay each other for an intense period of 28 days from March 15-April 13.
FC Goa beat Chennaiyin FC 2-1 in the final to win their first-ever Hero Super Cup title.
How did the tournament unfold?
The top six teams from both Hero ISL and Hero I-League qualified for the Super Cup automatically while the bottom four sides participated in the qualifying round. FC Pune City, Delhi Dynamos FC, Kerala Blasters FC and Chennaiyin FC participated in the qualifying round from Hero ISL while Aizawl FC, Indian Arrows, Gokulam Kerala and Minerva Punjab took part in the qualifying round from I-League. A total of 12 teams battled it out in the main competition for the Super Cup trophy.
Round of 16 saw Chennaiyin FC, FC Goa, Delhi Dynamos, Mohun Bagan, Chennai City, ATK Football Club, Jamshedpur FC, Neroca FC edge out their competitors and book their slots for the quarter-finals. In the quarter-finals we saw the defending champions Bengaluru FC lose out to Chennai City FC, ATK FC outplaying Delhi Dynamos in a seven-goal thriller, FC Goa beating Jamshedpur FC with a 4-3 scoreline and Chennaiyin FC getting past NorthEast United FC with a 2-1 scoreline.
The semi-finals saw FC Goa asserting their dominance over Chennai City with a 3-0 victory and Chennaiyin FC booking their place in the final after a strong second half display against ATK FC with a 2-0 scoreline. The Hero Super Cup 2019 final witnessed FC Goa continuing their fine run of performances and won the final 2-1 to clinch their first-ever Super Cup title.
Now let's take a look at some of the best moments and statistics from the Hero 2019 Super Cup.
The Biggest Shocks
When FC Pune City took field against Chennai City FC, the fixture was expected to go in favour of the former but the 2019 I-League champions had plans of their own and two goals in a span of five minutes by Pedro Manzi turned the tie into Chennai City FC's corner. Marcelino pulled a goal back for the Hero ISL side but an equally strong second half saw Manzi claiming his hat-trick before Sandro Rodriguez scored the fourth goal of the fixture to seal the historic victory for the Hero I-League champions.
Chennai City rode on their impeccable victory against FC Pune City to produce another shock of the tournament as they outplayed the defending Super Cup champions Bengaluru FC in the quarter-final tie. A goal in the first 15 minutes of the match gave the I-League champions the dream start as the Blues tried to make a comeback into the match, Pedro Manzi continued his fine form in the tournament as he bagged his third goal in two matches with a goal in the 55th minute. Sunil Chhetri pulled a goal back in the 65th minute but Chennai City tightened the grip on the match and secured the victory with a 2-1 scoreline to knock out the second Hero ISL team in consecutive matches.
After an impressive Hero Super Cup campaign, both teams locked horns in the final for the ultimate prize. For the Super Cup bragging rights, both teams began the final with an attacking mindset with both teams testing the goalkeepers in the first half. Raphael Augusto came close to giving the lead to Chennaiyin FC but Mourtada Fall blocked the Brazilian midfielder's attempt, Eli Sabia's close-range effort was saved by Mohammad Nawaz as both teams headed into the half-time with a 0-0 scoreline.
After a dominant first half by Chennaiyin FC it was the Gaurs who drew the first blood, Ferran Corominas tapped in the ball after Karanjit Singh saved Hugo Boumous' effort in the 51st minute. The joy was short-lived as Augusto's goal brought Chennaiyin FC back in the match just after three minutes. Sergio Lobera's team didn't let the goal deter as they would score in the 64th minute through Brandon Fernandes, Chennaiyin FC tried to find the equaliser but it wasn't to come as FC Goa clinched their first-ever Hero Super Cup title.
FC Goa's title winning run
Sergio Lobera's side started their Super Cup campaign with a comfortable 3-0 victory against a young Indian Arrows team, the Gaurs were on the front-foot from the word go and goals at the right intervals kept FC Goa in control as the Young Colts struggled to break an experienced FC Goa team.
A seven-goal thriller against Jamshedpur FC in the quarter-finals was one of the most intense matches of the tournament. A dominant first half display saw the Gaurs take a 2-0 lead going into the half-time and they looked to be in complete control after a 4-1 lead till the 74th minute but two quick-fire goals by the Men of Steel turned the last quarter of the match into a frenzy but FC Goa secured the victory and booked their place in the semi-finals.
In the semi-final clash, FC Goa took on the giant killers Chennai City FC who defeated Mumbai City FC and Bengaluru FC on their way to semi-finals but FC Goa displayed complete control over the match as they scored three goals without a reply to assert their dominance over Hero I-League champions. In the final, they outplayed Chennaiyin FC in a display of attacking football coupled with a resilient defense to clinch their first-ever Hero Super Cup title. The Gaurs outplayed every single opponent they faced and were never one the trailing side, boasting two of the tournament's top scorers in Ferran Corominas and Brandon Fernandes, scoring five and three goals respectively. FC Goa displayed a brand of free-flowing, tactically sound and attacking football which every opponent failed to contain.
Top Scorer: Ferran Corominas (FC Goa)
In FC Goa's title winning run, it was the Spainard who scored in every match to help the Gaurs clinch the title. Corominas scored five goals in four matches including the brace against Chennai City in the Semi-final. The forward scored the first goal of the tournament for the Gaurs as he opened the scoring against Indian Arrows in the Round of 16, he scored the final goal in a 4-3 victory against Jamshedpur FC in the Quater-final, two goals against Chennai City in the Semi-final and the fifth goal of the tournament in the final against Chennaiyin FC to win the Golden Boot of the competition.