Kalinga Super Cup: FC Goa and Odisha FC win to set up a virtual quarter-final
With wins in their respective matches, Odisha FC and FC Goa now have six points each, and the Kalinga Warriors sit on top by virtue of a superior goal difference.
Indian Super League (ISL) clubs FC Goa and Odisha FC notched up two wins in as many matches in the Kalinga Super Cup, setting the stage for an exhilarating fixture in the last group stage match when the two teams clash on Monday to determine the Group D winner.
The Gaurs secured three points against Bengaluru FC with Brison Fernandes’ late header proving decisive. In the other Group D fixture, Odisha FC displayed dominance, securing a convincing 3-0 victory over Inter Kashi.
On the final day of the group stage matches, Bengaluru FC will face off against Inter Kashi in an early kick-off, where both teams will play for pride as they are already out of contention. However, all eyes will be on the Odisha FC versus FC Goa match, as the winner of this fixture advances to the semi-final. In the case of a draw, the Kalinga Warriors will go through by virtue of a better goal difference.
Brison Fernandes strikes late as FC Goa seal a tight victory against Bengaluru FC
In the early kick-off on the day, FC Goa emerged triumphant against Bengaluru FC, securing a crucial 1-0 victory over the Blues at Kalinga Stadium Pitch 1 in Bhubaneswar.
A late header from Brison Fernandes in the fourth minute of added time in the second half proved to be the decider. This defeat means Bengaluru FC bows out of the competition after suffering their second consecutive loss.
The tone of the clash was set in the opening moments itself, with FC Goa initiating their first attack in the 2nd minute. Noah Sadaoui delivered a precise cross from the left flank to Carlos Martinez, whose shot was, however, denied skillfully by Bengaluru FC goalkeeper Sahil Poonia.
Raynier Fernandes then showcased his prowess in the 9th minute with a solo run, but his shot veered wide off the far post.
Despite FC Goa's dominance, Bengaluru FC had a golden opportunity in the 34th minute when Javi Hernandez intercepted a stray pass from Seriton Fernandes but failed to capitalize, sending his first-time shot off target. The first half concluded with the Gaurs controlling proceedings and creating numerous chances, yet the lack of clinical finishing meant the score remained goalless.
The second half brought its share of excitement, with the Blues steadily gaining momentum. In the 47th minute, a free-kick from Javi Hernandez found Shankar Sampingiraj, only for his header to be expertly saved by FC Goa shot-stopper Dheeraj Singh.
Gerard Zaragoza’s boys pressed on, and in the 71st minute, Shivaldo's well-placed ball to Asish Jha caused moments of anxiety for FC Goa, although the shot eventually sailed wide.
As the clock ticked down, tension escalated. In the 85th minute, an attempt by Lalremtluanga Fanai from Namgyal Bhutia's lobbed forward ball hinted at a potential breakthrough. It was Manolo Marquez’s boys that, however, sealed the deal in stoppage time.
Muhammed Nemil's cross from the left flank found Brison Fernandes at the far post, who then directed it into the net with a well-placed header to secure three crucial points for the Gaurs.
The victory resulted in FC Goa securing six points from two matches.
Odisha FC secure comfortable win over Inter Kashi
Goals from Puitea, Diego Mauricio, and Isaka Ralte propelled Odisha FC to a dominant 3-0 victory over 10-man Inter Kashi in the Kalinga Super Cup on Wednesday.
The home side initiated the game on the front foot right from the start and posed a constant threat in attack. Captain Mourtada Fall came close to scoring when Puitea found him unmarked, but Inter Kashi goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya expertly saved his header.
Minutes later, in the 22nd minute, the I-League side had an opportunity to test the Odisha FC custodian, but the experienced keeper comfortably saved it. The Kalinga Warriors applied more pressure in the next phase, but the Kashi defence kept them at bay.
In the 41st minute, Asif Khan delivered a dangerous ball for Mario Barco, but his header was once again denied by Odisha FC keeper Lalthuammawia Ralte. Puitea broke the deadlock just before the halftime break with a superb strike.
Following the halftime break, both coaches opted for lineup changes to inject fresh energy into the game. Brazilian forward Mauricio extended Sergio Lobera’s side's lead with a precisely executed curling finish. In the 73rd minute, Roy Krishna once again set up Mauricio, but this time Bhattacharya managed to deflect the shot with his hand.
Moments later, problems increased for Kashi as Anil Chawan was sent off following two quick yellow card offences. The home side took advantage of the numerical superiority, and Isaka Ralte further increased the lead after receiving an inch-perfect pass from Krishna.
With this win, Odisha FC finds themselves on top of Group D, level on points with FC Goa. However, Lobera’s side has a better goal difference, and a draw against the Gaurs in the final group stage match will see them through to the semi-final.