FC Goa and Odisha FC began their Kalinga Super Cup 2024 journey with successful outings, securing all three points each in their opening clashes against Inter Kashi and Bengaluru FC in Group D. FC Goa triumphed over I-League side Inter Kashi with a 2-1 scoreline, while Odisha FC emerged victorious against a 10-man Bengaluru FC.

Odisha FC will next take on Inter Kashi on January 17, while FC Goa will lock horns with Odisha FC in an early kick-off on the same day.

Sadaoui and Martinez propel FC Goa to victory against Inter Kashi

Noah Sadaoui and Carlos Martinez both found the back of the net in the second-half as they claimed their victory in their opening fixture of the Kalinga Super Cup against I-League side Inter Kashi. However, Inter Kashi pulled one goal back with Nikum Gyamar’s goal in the 78th minute, but the Gaurs managed to keep the one-goal crucial lead, which gave them winning momentum to start the campaign.

It was a lively game from the opening whistle. Inter Kashi got the first real opportunity of the game when Edmund Lalrindika got close to the goal in the 3rd minute, but Dheeraj Singh made an important save to deny his effort. Notably, Singh got a chance after a long time under the bars as FC Goa's head coach, Manolo Marquez, decided to rest Arshdeep Singh.

Apart from this chance, it was all about FC Goa’s opportunities in the first half with Sadoui, Paulo Retre, and Boris Singh. The Moroccan winger was in full swing on the left flank, showing his quality and sheer control over the ball. Inter Kashi captain Arindam Bhattacharya made some crucial saves in the opening half to keep the score level before the start of the second half.

The drama started in the very first moments of the second half when Inter Kashi got the opener with Anil Chawan, but it was disallowed due to offside. The Gaurs soon broke the deadlock in the 58th minute with Sadaoui’s precise finish, assisted by Brison Fernandes, which found the far corner, giving Bhattacharya no chance.

Martinez doubled the lead in the 66th minute with an inch-perfect cross from Sadaoui. The Spaniard chested down the cross, and his powerful strike awarded his team a decisive two-goal lead.

Inter Kashi decreased the lead with Gyamar’s superb strike from outside the box but could not stave off the defeat. With today’s 2-1 win, the Gaurs extended their unbeaten run to 11 matches, across all competitions.

Ahmed Jahouh’s goal help Odisha FC edge past Bengaluru FC

Odisha FC found themselves on the winning side as they started their journey to defend the Kalinga Super Cup on a positive note at their home ground. Jahouh’s free-kick proved to be the decider as the Kalinga Warriors secured a narrow 1-0 victory over the Blues.

The Blues got their very first chance with Sivasakthi Narayanan in the 5th minute of the game, but Lalthuammawia Ralte was in position to save his shot. Sergio Lobera’s side found themselves fortunate from the set-piece as Jahouh’s curled shot beat Bengaluru FC’s young goalie Sahil Poonia at the near post, who failed to judge the bounce.

Bengaluru FC forward Ryan Williams received a straight red card after halftime, leaving the Blues to play with a man short throughout the entire second half.

Gerard Zaragoza’s men fought their best in the final 45 minutes but could not find the equalizer by the end of the 90 minutes. The Blues had some genuine chances through Javi Hernandez in the second half, but Odisha FC’s defensive unit stood strong to deal with them.

The Blues generated numerous attacking moves to level the score, but their lack of precision cost them points against Odisha FC. The Kalinga Warriors also had serious chances to double their lead with Roy Krishna and Aniket Jadhav, but Poonia kept the scoreline intact with crucial saves.

Odisha FC now have three wins in a row against Bengaluru FC, across all competitions.