Newly-crowned Hero ISL Champions ATK Mohun Bagan FC take the field against hosts Gokulam Kerala FC in the Group C opener of the Hero Super Cup at the EMS Corporation Stadium in Kozhikode on Monday, April 10, 2023, at 5:00 pm IST.

Juan Ferrando-coached ATK Mohun Bagan edged Bengaluru FC on penalties after an exciting 2-2 draw in the Hero ISL final in Goa last month. After a three-week break, the Mariners will be back in action, aiming to become the first side to do a Hero ISL-Super Cup double.

“There's no shortage of motivation in the camp. The players are ready for the Super Cup,” said ATK Mohun Bagan assistant coach Bastab Roy.

“The Super Cup has a different format than the ISL. One bad day here, and you go back home. So, we're taking things match by match," he added.

Two-time Hero I-League champions Gokulam Kerala FC's bid for a hat-trick of titles did not take flight this season as they couldn't keep up with RoundGlass Punjab and Sreenidi Deccan in the title race. Gokulam finished the league in third place and were matched with Mohammedan Sporting in the Hero Super Cup Qualifiers, where they were too strong for the Kolkata side, brushing them aside 5-2.

Regarding the Malabarians, Roy said, “Gokulam are a good side. Playing on home soil will be advantageous for them because everybody knows how passionate the supporters are here in Kerala.”

Gokulam Kerala head coach Francesc Bonet, of course, is banking on home support to try and upset the ISL champions. He said, "We take the Super Cup as a great opportunity to show that we can compete against ISL sides. The other teams may not know too much about us, which could go in our favour. I hope our fans will come and cheer us on."

The Spaniard knows that his side has their task cut out against ATK Mohun Bagan but sounded confident ahead of the game. "We believe we can win every match. They are a champion side, but we will have our chances and will go for the three points."

The Hero Super Cup game between ATK Mohun Bagan FC and Gokulam Kerala FC will be telecast live on the Sony Sports 2 channel and streamed on FanCode.

FC Goa renew rivalry with Jamshedpur FC

FC Goa square off against Jamshedpur FC to open their Hero Super Cup campaign in Group C in the EMS Corporation Stadium, in Kozhikode, on Monday.

Both sides were underperformers in the Hero ISL this season, Jamshedpur more so as they finished second from the bottom with just five wins and 19 points. However, three of those wins came in the final four games, which has given the Red Miners some confidence heading into the Super Cup.

Goa ended up missing the Hero ISL play-offs by just three points, but they've got themselves to blame for it as they failed to win any of their last three matches.

As far as the Hero Super Cup is concerned, it will be a renewed rivalry. Goa and Jamshedpur have met in both previous editions of the Super Cup, with the former coming out on top each time. The Gaurs thrashed the Red Miners 5-1 in 2018 before edging them 4-3 in 2019, both in the quarter-final stage. Goa then went on to win the Super Cup title in 2019.

Goa head coach Carlos Peña, who was part of the playing squad which lifted the Super Cup in Bhubaneswar, recalled his cherished moments from four years ago. "It was an amazing tournament for us. Very happy memories indeed. But it was a long time ago, and now, our focus is only on the current tournament, starting with tomorrow's match against Jamshedpur."

Goa and Jamshedpur met twice in the Hero ISL this season, with Goa winning the first game 3-0 at home before a 2-2 draw in Jamshedpur. "We know them (Jamshedpur) very well. We are here to compete and win. This is going to be the game that marks our future," said an enthusiastic Peña.

His counterpart Aidy Boothroyd was rather pragmatic. He said, "Of course, it's not been the best of seasons for us. But we've done well since Christmas. We want to try and continue that here in the Super Cup."

The Hero Club Playoff slot for the AFC Cup on offer has provided extra motivation to both sides. Goa became the first Indian side to qualify for the AFC Champions League Group Stage in 2021, and will not mind another return to continental competition.

Jamshedpur, who were beaten 1-3 in the AFC Champions League qualifying play-off by Mumbai City just last week, will have another chance to bid for a first-ever continental appearance via the Hero Super Cup.

The Hero Super Cup game between FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC will be telecast on the Sony Sports 2 channel and streamed on FanCode.