Three more Indian Super League (ISL) outfits begin their Kalinga Super Cup campaigns as FC Goa take on I-League side Inter Kashi and hosts Odisha FC face Bengaluru FC on Friday. 

The Group D clashes will set the tone for the next two rounds as the three ISL teams alongwith Inter Kashi will have a big battle on their hands to come out on top in this tough group. 

FC Goa vs Inter Kashi, Friday, January 12, 2 PM IST

The Gaurs are flying in the league and are the only team not to lose a match during the season. Winning seven matches out of the ten in the league, Manolo Marquez’s side seems like the team to beat this season. Powered by a strong defence that has been breached just five times this season, FC Goa will start as one of the pre-tournament favourites in the Kalinga Super Cup. 

The Gaurs though will miss key Indian players in Sandesh Jhingan, Brandon Fernandes and Udanta Singh which will give opportunities for youngsters from FC Goa’s academy which have always proved to be exciting. Noah Sadaoui will lead the team’s attack and the defence will be marshalled by Odei Onaindia.

Inter Kashi are featuring in their inaugural season and have done decently well in the debut campaign winning four out of their 11 matches in the I-League as they sit in eighth position. 

Kashi features several former ISL players in goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharya, defender Peter Hartley, Sehnaj Singh, Sumeet Passi, Bijoy Varghese and Jackichand Singh and have the potential to compete against any team on the day. 

Odisha FC vs Bengaluru FC, Friday, January 12, 7 PM IST

Odisha FC and Bengaluru FC will clash in what is expected to be a must-win clash in Group D with a margin for error almost minimal in the group stages with just one team set to qualify.

Sergio Lobera’s side are flying and are unbeaten in 11 matches in all competitions, a run that started with the 3-2 win over Bengaluru FC at the Kalinga stadium in October. 

Former Blues striker Roy Krishna has been in great form this season having scored seven goals in the ISL and will pose a big threat to his ex-team alongwith Diego Mauricio. The Kalinga Warriors have slowly started to settle down in Lobera’s system and look like a menacing prospect, especially after their passage to the knockout stage in the AFC Cup. 

Bengaluru FC have had a poor season so far by their standards as they sit in ninth position with just eleven points in 12 matches. They will also be without their skipper Sunil Chhetri, midfielder Suresh Singh Wangjam and goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu for the competition with the trio away with India for the AFC Asian Cup. 

Things seem to be on an upward trajectory since new head coach Gerard Zaragoza has taken over with the team collecting four points from two games. The Super Cup will provide a great chance for Bengaluru FC to launch a revival and build on their legacy of doing well in knockout competitions.