Indian Super League (ISL) side East Bengal FC came from behind to beat arch-rivals Mohun Bagan Super Giant to secure their spot in the Kalinga Super Cup semi-final on Friday. Hector Yuste scored the opening goal for Mohun Bagan SG, while the Red and Gold Brigade clinched the victory by coming from behind with Cleiton Silva’s brace and Nandhakumar Sekhar’s goal. East Bengal FC became the second team to book their place in the final four after Jamshedpur FC. 

It was a highly intensified outing from the starting seconds of the game, as both sides fought toe-to-toe against each other in the prestigious Kolkata derby. It started with the Mariners, who broke the deadlock in the 19th minute after creating heavy pressure with numerous corners in the minutes preceding the opening goal. Spanish defender Yuste gave his side an early lead in this vital game with his little flick from Dimitrios Petratos’s corner.

Carles Cuadrat’s defence line looked a little shaky in the opening quarter but rediscovered their fighting spirit after conceding the goal. 

It was none other than East Bengal FC captain Cleiton Silva, whose inch-perfect right-footed strike brought his side back into the game, an instant response five minutes after conceding the goal.

It was an action-packed first half for the Mariners, as they were awarded a penalty in the dying minutes of the first half. The move started with Kiyan Nassiri, who made a tricky run throughout the right flank, beating Nishu Kumar with his speed. Hijazi Maher could not get his hand out of Nassiri’s strike, which made his team concede a penalty.

Petratos scored from the spot with his initial attempt, which was called off, but failed to find the back of the net for the second consecutive time as his shot rattled the crossbar. With this penalty, the first half ended with a 1-1 scoreline.

The Mariners showed their eagerness to get their desired lead, in what was a must-win game for them. Clifford Miranda made a couple of changes with Jason Cummings and Ravi Rana to get control of the match.

But Cuadrat’s side took the lead just after that. Sekar made a simple finish into the open net, handing his team a crucial lead. It was Borja Herrera’s curling shot that hit the post and the rebound came towards Sekar, who lashed the ball inside the net.

East Bengal FC’s defence grew stronger as the game wore on with Maher and Jose Antonio Pardo marshalling the backline. The Mariners continued to find the equaliser using the channels through both wings, but full-backs Mohammed Rakip and Nishu Kumar were in their position to deal with it, denying their goal scoring chances.

Captain Cleiton scored another one at the death, adding to his side’s tally. Arsh Anwer Shaikh spilled the ball while trying to clear his lines and Silva was there to secure their lead.

East Bengal FC got another chance with substitute PV Vishu in the 85th minute, but Shaikh made a point-blank save to deny his effort. 

With the win against Mohun Bagan SG in the Kolkata Derby, East Bengal FC cemented their spot in the top of Group A.

Sreenidi Deccan FC breezed past Hyderabad FC

Sreenidi Deccan FC beat Hyderabad FC 4-1 to end their Kalinga Super Cup 2024 journey with a win in the earlier Kalinga Super Cup game played on Friday. Goals came from Ibrahim Sissoko, Eli Sabia, Lalromawia, and Kean Lewis for the I-League side, while Makan Chothe scored the consolation goal for Hyderabad FC.

Carlos Vaz Pinto’s men created waves of attacks from the very beginning of the game and showcased their precision in terms of finishing those chances. Sissoko scored the opener in the fifth minute with his powerful head from the corner. The I-League side doubled their lead just two minutes after scoring the opener, with Sabia finding the back of the net using his towering height.

Sreenidi Deccan continued to demonstrate their beautiful set of play, which helped them score another goal to extend their lead. It was an excellent link-up play between William Alves and Lalromawia inside the box, while the latter put his name on the scoresheet with his curled right-footed strike from a very tight angle.

Lewis made it 4-0 before the half-time break with a well-taken goal, giving no chance to Hyderabad FC goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani. It was a sensational start from the I-league side to secure a sustainable lead in the first 45 minutes.

Hyderabad FC rang in a couple of changes as head coach Thangboi Singto brought in Hitesh Sharma and Joseph Sunny from the beginning of the second half. Rahmlunchhunga was one of Hyderabad FC’s brightest sparks in the second half, but Sreenidi Deccan FC’s defenders nullified the threat.

Late on in the game, Chothe scored a stunning curling goal to change the scoreline, but it was too late to make an impact.