Hero Super Cup 2023: Key fixtures to look forward to
The eagerly awaited Hero Super Cup is set to start on April 8, 2023, marking its return after a four-year wait. The forthcoming competition, which will take place in Kerala, has had its groups and schedules confirmed by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
The eagerly awaited Hero Super Cup is set to start on April 8, 2023, marking its return after a four-year wait. The upcoming competition, which will take place in Kerala, has had its groups and schedules confirmed by the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
RoundGlass Punjab FC, the champions of the 2022–23 Hero I-League, and all 11 teams from the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) will gain direct access into the Hero Super Cup's group stage. The four remaining group stage spots will be decided in the qualification rounds between the teams that finished second through tenth in the Hero I-League.
Four groups of the 16 competing teams will play each other once in a round robin style. The winner of each group advances to the semi-finals.
Here are some of the key fixtures we can look forward to in the third edition of the Hero Super Cup:
Kerala Blasters FC vs Bengaluru FC
Although Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters' southern rivalry has always been strong, this year's matchup had a new twist.
The exciting Hero ISL knockout game at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium had everything that a fierce rivalry should have.
After hard-fought ninety minutes, Sunil Chhetri's swift free kick in extra-time proved to be the deciding factor. The Blasters players were taken off guard, though, as their goalkeeper Prabshukhan Gill was still putting up the wall.
In the midst of the commotion, Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanvic ordered his team off the pitch and the yellow army forfeited the match to send Bengaluru FC to the semi-finals.
As luck would have it, the rivals are set up against one another in a high-stakes game once more. Bengaluru FC, who are in excellent form, will aim to make things worse for their rivals, while Kerala Blasters will be looking to reign supreme in their home state. On Sunday, April 16, the match is scheduled to take place in Kozhikode's EMS Stadium.
ATK Mohun Bagan vs FC Goa
The newly crowned Hero ISL champions, ATK Mohun Bagan, will face FC Goa, the defending Super Cup champions, in the group stages, making their task challenging.
In the Hero ISL, ATK Mohun Bagan had an uneven season, but they seem to be at their best in the knockout rounds. Considering the strength of their roster and recent success, this undoubtedly portends well for the Super Cup.
Contrarily, FC Goa, who are coached by Carlos Pena, have occasionally displayed signs of their potential but have mostly struggled defensively. Nonetheless, Noah Sadaoui has proven difficult for teams to stop.
On April 18 at the EMS Stadium, the stage is set for an electrifying matchup between a powerful offense and a staunch defense in what promises to be a nail-biting contest.
Odisha FC vs East Bengal FC
After a hard-fought season that culminated in qualifying for the Hero ISL playoffs for the first time in the club’s history, Odisha FC are back in action and will hope to continue performing in the upcoming Hero Super Cup.
The Juggernauts have been a bit inconsistent in the past few months, winning two of their last five games and scoring seven goals while conceding the same.
It is an opportunity for them to battle against the best teams in the country. Furthermore, the game against East Bengal FC will test their mettle.
Meanwhile, after a disappointing end to the campaign, East Bengal FC will look to bounce back in the Hero Super Cup. The Red and Gold Brigade have everything to play for in order to salvage their season, but will face competition from every side throughout the tournament.
This game has a history of producing thrillers over the last three Hero ISL seasons with plenty of goals being scored and the spectators will hope that continues in the Super Cup.
𝗠𝗔𝗥𝗞 𝗬𝗢𝗨𝗥 𝗖𝗔𝗟𝗘𝗡𝗗𝗔𝗥! 🗓️— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) April 3, 2023
1️⃣6️⃣ teams battle it out for the priced possession as the Hero Super Cup kick starts on 8️⃣th April, 2023! ⚔️
Watch the #HeroSuperCup 2023 live on @SonySportsNetwk & @FanCode! 📺#IndianFootball pic.twitter.com/Wk1qZq9Bq0
Mumbai City FC vs Chennaiyin FC
The Islanders and the Marina Machans have locked horns against each other previously in the Hero Super Cup, with the latter getting the better of the Mumbai team in a 2-0 win back in 2019.
Things are completely different, and the perspectives of both teams have changed. Mumbai City FC are high on confidence and momentum after their record breaking season in the recently concluded Hero ISL, where they won the League Winners' Shield, while for Chennaiyin FC, it is still a building process, and head coach Thomas Brdaric will be keen to go all the way in the competition, but faces a stern challenge starting with NorthEast United FC and the Islanders in the group stage.
Hyderabad FC vs East Bengal FC
Manolo Marquez, the head coach of Hyderabad FC, will be eager to finish on a high and a good note by winning the Hero Super Cup title before he bids adieu. The Spaniard has put his mark on the Hyderabad FC side throughout the past three seasons with consistent performances in the Hero ISL and will now look to carry that into the Super Cup.
Hyderabad FC will face Hero ISL side East Bengal FC in the group stage, with head coach Stephen Constantine also looking to finish the season on a positive note. The Red and Gold Brigade will have everything to play for after a disappointing campaign in the Hero ISL.
Jamshedpur FC vs ATK Mohun Bagan
The Men of Steel will be among the 11 Hero ISL teams gaining automatic qualification to the Hero Super Cup and will be up against the current winners of the Hero ISL title, ATK Mohun Bagan. Jamshedpur FC have had a campaign with more misses than hits and after a high-flying 2021-22 season, it was much expected that the Men of Steel would continue with their fine run of form. The head coach, Aidy Boothroyd, is optimistic about his side’s chances going into the tournament but will face a tough time playing the Mariners, who appear to be at their best in the knockout stages. Jamshedpur FC will have to give their all.
They finished the season strongly and have the momentum going into the Super Cup. The Mariners will have their work cut out and won't have it all their way against the Red Miners.
NorthEast United FC vs Chennaiyin FC
The Highlanders had a season to forget having finished at the bottom of the Hero ISL table with the lowest points tally in the history of the league with a solitary win and five points.
The fixture between NorthEast United FC and Chennaiyin FC brought a lot of goals during the group stage of the Hero ISL, and fans will be expecting the same outcome when they battle each other in Kerala. The Highlanders will look to make up for the poor performances and make the fans happy, while Chennaiyin FC and head coach Thomas Brdaric will try to bring their style as they build their own team for the future competitions.