Kalinga Super Cup: Mumbai City FC reach semis defeating Chennaiyin FC, Punjab FC play out a goalless draw
The Islanders will now take on either of Odisha FC or FC Goa in the second semi-final of the Kalinga Super Cup.
Mumbai City FC secured a narrow 1-0 victory over Chennaiyin FC and booked their place in the semi-finals of the Kalinga Super Cup with a perfect record in the group stage. The two sides met in the final group stage match, with the winner of the tie securing a spot in the knockouts. A draw would also have been enough for Petr Kratky's side in the match.
In a must-win game for them, Owen Coyle’s side started the game on the front foot, and the first real opportunity came their way, but Rahim Ali’s shot from the edge of the box was saved by Phurba Lachenpa. Six minutes later, Lachenpa made another crucial save to deny Connor Shields.
The Marina Machans applied more pressure in the next phase, but clinical finishing was missing in the final third. In the 23rd minute, Mumbai City FC defender Valpuia opened the scoring with a clinical header from Yoell van Nieff’s free-kick. The score remained 1-0 until the break.
Chennaiyin FC needed two goals to secure their place in the next round in the second half. They tried to look threatening in attack. In the 58th minute, Shields whipped in a teasing delivery, but Jordan Murray’s powerful header was brilliantly saved by Lachenpa.
Lachenpa pulled off another terrific save in the 79th minute to deny Irfan Yadwad’s header. Mumbai City FC’s defence showed resilience to see the game through, and they will now face either FC Goa or Odisha FC in the second semi-final of the Kalinga Super Cup on Thursday.
Punjab FC share the spoils with Gokulam Kerala FC
In the early fixture in Group C, Indian Super League (ISL) side Punjab FC played out a goalless draw with Gokulam Kerala FC at Kalinga Stadium Pitch 1 in Bhubaneswar.
With the Shers already being knocked out of contention for the semi-finals, Punjab FC head coach Staikos Vergetis made a few changes in the playing XI, giving others a chance. The I-League side got the first opportunity within the opening two minutes when Emmanuel Justine's effort was saved by Punjab FC goalkeeper Kiran Limbu.
It was even in the opening half as both teams looked to assert their dominance in the middle of the park; however, both teams lacked that finish in the final third and failed to create any more clear-cut chances to break the deadlock in the first half.
Punjab FC made changes in the second half, bringing in Madih Talal and Luka Majcen, but however, the story didn’t change much in the second half, as both sides failed to grab any half chances to convert them into real openings. In the 85th minute, Talal had a chance to break the deadlock, but his free kick went wide of the goal. Minutes later, Gokulam Kerala FC’s Basit Ahmed Bhat was shown a second yellow card for a dangerous tackle, leaving them to see out the game with 10 men.
Both teams had opportunities in stoppage time, but Talal's and Noufal PN’s efforts were saved by the respective goalkeepers of the two sides. Majcen also failed to capitalize on a chance in the final minute of the game as both sides ended their campaign with a goalless draw.