NorthEast United FC secured their first win in the Kalinga Super Cup 2024 by defeating I-League side Shillong Lajong with a 2-1 scoreline. Khalid Jamil’s Jamshedpur FC continued their winning run by handing Kerala Blasters FC a 3-2 loss in the second game of the day, securing their place in the semifinal as Group B winners with one game to spare.

NorthEast United FC and Kerala Blasters FC will lock horns on Saturday as both sides aim to finish their cup campaigns on high, while Jamshedpur FC will face Shillong Lajong FC on the same day in an early kick-off.

Nestor Albiach’s brace helped NorthEast United FC edge past Shillong Lajong

Nestor Albiach struck twice in the second half as NorthEast United FC came from behind to secure three points against Shillong Lajong, with Douglas Rosa Tardin opening the scoresheet for the I-League side in the first half of the match.

The Highlanders could have won the game by a significant margin if they had capitalized on their opportunities. The first half was lively, with NorthEast United FC creating numerous chances from both flanks. Redeem Tlang missed the initial opportunity of the game in the third minute, failing to convert an open goal from close range. A couple of minutes later, Romain Philippoteaux had another substantial chance, but Shillong Lajong FC's defence denied him.

The deadlock was broken by the I-League side in the 17th minute when Douglas Rosa Tardin's precise right-footed shot found the bottom right corner, giving his team an early lead against the run of play. Shillong Lajong FC had a promising chance from a set-piece in the 27th minute, with Daniel Goncalves's header hitting the crossbar; otherwise, the Reds could have secured a sustainable two-goal lead.

In the second half, Juan Pedro Benali's side rectified their mistakes from the first half. The Highlanders initiated a wave of attacks from the opening minute of the final half and got their desired equalising goal in the 59th minute. Philippoteaux delivered an inch-perfect cross into the box and Nestor Albiach made no mistake to find the back of the net.

NorthEast United FC earned a penalty in the 65th minute when Pursunep tackled Macarton Louis Nickson from behind. Albiach calmly converted the spot kick, giving his team a crucial one-goal lead. In the 97th minute, Renan Paulino had the final opportunity to level the score, but he couldn't keep his free-kick on target from just outside the box.

Daniel Chima Chukwu struck twice as Jamshedpur FC pip Kerala Blasters FC

Jamshedpur FC sealed their spot in the semi-final by triumphing over Kerala Blasters in a thrilling five-goal encounter. Daniel Chima netted a brace for the Men of Steel, Jeremy Manzorro also found the net for Jamshedpur FC while Dimitrios Diamantakos scored twice for the Blasters

The Blasters opened the scoring in the 29th minute when Daisuke was brought down in the box. Kerala Blasters FC’s Greek talisman, Diamantakos, converted the spot-kick to give his side the lead.

The Men of Steel responded instantly in the 33rd minute, shortly after conceding the goal, when Chima pounced on a cross to equalize the scoreline. The first half concluded with the teams level.

The second half unfolded with thrilling, high-intensity action. A superb link-up play between Alen Stevanovic and Chima provided Jamshedpur FC with a goal, as the latter's powerful strike beat Sachin Suresh. The Blasters were awarded another penalty in the 60th minute when Marko Leskovic was brought down in the box by Chima. Diamantakos once again showcased his prowess by converting the spot-kick, bringing his side back into the game.

Jamshedpur FC regained the lead with Manzorro’s calm and composed finish from the spot-kick in the 68th minute after a foul on Chima. Despite some chances for the Blasters in the remaining minutes through Kwame Peprah and Bidyashagar Singh, they failed to find the equalizer.

The player of the night, Daniel Chima, was later sent off in stoppage time for a reckless challenge.