The opening day of the Kalinga Super Cup began on a winning note for both Kolkata giants. The Red and Gold Brigade secured a thrilling 3-2 victory over Hyderabad FC, followed by the Mariners' 2-1 comeback win against I-League side Sreenidi Deccan FC.

East Bengal FC is scheduled to play against Sreenidi Deccan FC on January 14, while Mohun Bagan SG will face Hyderabad FC in an early kick-off on the same day.

Silva's brace and Crespo's late strike help East Bengal FC edge past Hyderabad FC

East Bengal FC began their Kalinga Super Cup 2024 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, along with Saul Crespo's well-timed header, secured the win for the Kolkata-based club. Ramhlunchhunga and Nim Dorjee Tamang equalized the scoreline twice for Hyderabad FC, but couldn't find an equaliser for the third time.

Captain Silva led the Red and Gold Brigade from the front and played a pivotal role in his team’s offensive line, helping them start the tournament with all three points. The 36-year-old Brazilian striker broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute, utilizing his presence in the box and delivering a precise finish. The goal originated from a beautiful sequence involving Mohammed Rakip and Nandhakumar Sekar, culminating in Silva's defense-splitting run, granting East Bengal FC the lead.

The opposition managed to equalize just before halftime with a goal from Ramhlunchhunga. East Bengal FC quickly regained their lead after halftime, courtesy of Silva's trademark finish from a setpiece. Hyderabad FC’s goalkeeper, Laxmikant Kattimani, had no answer to Silva’s powerful right-footed curled strike.

Fielding an all-Indian lineup, Thingboi Singto’s side showcased considerable promise throughout the match, turning it into an entertaining encounter. Singto’s men reaped the rewards of their continuous pressure in the 78th minute when Tamang converted a spot-kick, bringing the game back to an open contest.

However, in the end, it was super-sub Crespo who secured the victory for East Bengal FC with his timely header in the 80th minute. Later in the game, head coach Carles Cuadrat brought in Ajay Chhetri and Edwin Sydney Vanspaul to strengthen his midfield, ultimately securing his team's victory in the opening game of the Kalinga Super Cup.

Mohun Bagan SG staged a comeback victory against Sreenidi Deccan

Jason Cummings and Armando Sadiku's goals propelled Mohun Bagan SG to victory over Sreenidi Deccan FC, despite an early goal from the I-League side. William Alves Oliveira gave Sreenidi Deccan FC the lead in the 28th minute, displaying calmness and composure from the penalty spot. Cummings equalized in the dying minutes of the first half, capitalizing on his presence in the box. Sadiku's subsequent strike served as the decider, securing a hard-fought win for 10-man Mohun Bagan SG.

The Mariners applied relentless pressure from the start of the match but struggled to convert their chances. Sreenidi Deccan FC came close to scoring in the 17th minute, with Lalromawia's long-range strike narrowly missing the target. In the 27th minute, Sumit Rathi fouled Lalromawia inside the box, resulting in a penalty for Sreenidi Deccan FC. Oliveira made no mistake to put his side ahead in the game.

Despite the continuous pressure, the Mariners managed to level the score before the break. Abhishek Suryavanshi's looped effort hit the crossbar, and Cummings capitalized on the rebound, finding the back of the net.

Dimitrios Petratos and Hugo Boumous showcased their creative skills and maturity on the pitch, allowing Mohun Bagan SG to take control of the match in the second half. The Mariners soon started their offensive prowess. In the 50th minute, Sadiku's long-range strike narrowly missed the target, but his goal in the 71st minute secured the victory for Mohun Bagan SG. A beautiful combination play between Boumous and Asish Rai set up the move, and Rai's perfect cross opened the goal for Sadiku, who tapped it in to give the Mariners a crucial lead.

Despite Suryavanshi receiving a second yellow card and being sent off in the 86th minute, Mohun Bagan SG managed to maintain their lead, securing a valuable three points to start the campaign.