Kalinga Super Cup final: Driven by distinct motivations, Odisha FC and East Bengal FC seek triumph
Finalists Odisha FC and East Bengal FC are fueled by various motivating factors, all contributing to the desire to conclude their Kalinga Super Cup campaigns on a positive note.
Securing trophies stands as a distinctive measure of success for any football club. As Odisha FC and East Bengal FC face off in the final showdown of the Kalinga Super Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar this Sunday, both sides enter the clash with a shared determination to emerge victorious.
Having displayed resilience by remaining unbeaten throughout the group and knockout stages, Odisha FC and East Bengal FC are now gearing up for one last push. The final serves as a platform for them to potentially resume the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season with the prestige of a title win, leaving an indelible mark on their overall campaign.
The pursuit of success is intensified by the fact that both teams have navigated through the challenges of the Kalinga Super Cup unbeaten, adding an extra layer of significance to this championship clash. As they approach the final showdown, Odisha FC and East Bengal FC are fueled by various motivating factors, all contributing to the desire to conclude their Kalinga Super Cup campaigns on a positive note.
The stage is set for a thrilling encounter as these two football powerhouses lock horns, each aiming to etch their name in the annals of the Kalinga Super Cup history with a triumphant finish to their campaign.
Odisha FC’s quest for glory
As the Kalinga Super Cup 2024 reaches its pinnacle, defending champions Odisha FC find themselves in a formidable position to script a title win at their home turf. The team, under the guidance of head coach Sergio Lobera, has not only met but exceeded expectations in the ongoing tournament, securing significant victories against formidable opponents.
Odisha FC showcased their mettle by defeating renowned teams like Bengaluru FC and FC Goa, along with overcoming Inter Kashi to secure a spot in the knockout stages. The semi-final clash against Mumbai City FC proved to be another testament to their resilience, as they navigated through a cagey yet engaging encounter to secure their place in the final.
Having reached the Kalinga Super Cup final for the second consecutive time, Odisha FC will hope to replicate the success of the previous season. The prospect of achieving this feat at their home ground, in front of their passionate fans, adds an extra layer of significance to the potential triumph.
Under the stewardship of Sergio Lobera, who previously clinched the Super Cup with FC Goa in 2019, Odisha FC are in the form of their lives. Their unbeaten streak extends to an impressive 15 matches across all competitions, with 13 victories highlighting their dominance. Lobera is well aware of the importance of retaining the trophy, particularly on their home turf, which has proven to be nothing short of a fortress for the team.
As the final showdown approaches, Odisha FC is poised to deliver a performance befitting their title as defending champions.
"We have a big game in front of us. We have the responsibility to keep the trophy here. We are excited about this opportunity and the most important thing is to enjoy this final. It's a big game for everyone - the players, coaches, staff and supporters," said Lobera ahead of the game.
East Bengal FC's shot at redemption
While Odisha FC stands as the favoured team for the final, given their current form and home advantage, East Bengal FC will be fueled by ample motivation and determination.
This marks East Bengal FC's second shot at a final this season, following their appearance in the Durand Cup 2023 final where they narrowly missed clinching the title, falling to arch-rivals Mohun Bagan Super Giant. Seeking redemption, they managed to avenge that defeat by orchestrating a remarkable comeback against the Mariners in the deciding match of Group A. This triumph not only secured their spot in the final but also ensured a perfect record and maximum points in the group stages.
Carles Cuadrat's side carried this moment into the semi-final, where they navigated past Jamshedpur FC in another closely-contested encounter. As they enter the Kalinga Super Cup 2024 final against Odisha FC, East Bengal FC will be driven not only by the desire to redeem themselves but also to break their trophy drought and secure a title that has eluded them since 2012.
On the brink of yet another final, East Bengal FC will be determined to capitalise on this opportunity. Since joining the ISL in 2020, the Red & Golds have yet to secure any titles. A victory in Bhubaneswar could mark the end of their 12-year title drought, with their last triumph dating back to the Federation Cup in 2012. The stakes are high as East Bengal eyes a chance to break this prolonged spell and head coach Carles Cuadrat is well aware.
"We are feeling very good. We have been fighting for results for a long time. It's very important for us to be in another final. We couldn't win the first one (Durand Cup), so we'll try our best to get the result in this one," expressed Cuadrat ahead of the game.
Fueled by distinct psychological motivations, Odisha FC and East Bengal FC will approach Sunday's showdown fully aware that any lapse could prove costly. With the title hanging in the balance, both teams are poised to give their all on the field, setting the stage for a captivating and intriguing clash.