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Kalinga Super Cup: East Bengal, Mohun Bagan grind hard-fought wins

East Bengal defeated Hyderabad FC while Mohun Bagan SG got better of Sreenidi Deccan on Day 1 of Kalinga Super Cup 2024.

Kalinga Super Cup: East Bengal, Mohun Bagan grind hard-fought wins

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 10 Jan 2024 2:57 PM GMT

Kalinga Super Cup kicked off with both East Bengal FC and Mohun Bagan Super Giants grinding out hard-fought victories on the first day of the tournament in Bhubaneshwar on Tuesday.

East Bengal defeated Hyderabad FC 3-2 while Mohun Bagan got better of Sreenidi Deccan by 2-1 in the Group A clashes.

In the opening game of the tournament, East Bengal FC rode Cleiton Silva’s brace to register a win over depleted Hyderabad FC. The Group A fixture saw Hyderabad draw level twice through Ramhlunchhunga and Nim Dorjee Tamang before Saul Crespo scored the winning goal for East Bengal in the 80th minute.

Silva led from the front as East Bengal looked to attack from the outset. The first significant chance came in the eighth minute when Nishu Kumar delivered a well-weighted cross from the left flank. Silva managed to head the ball down to Nandhakumar, setting up what seemed like a perfect volley opportunity. However, Nandhakumar’s shot struck the crossbar.

East Bengal finally broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute. The move was initiated by Mohamad Rakip, who played a quick one-two with Nandhakumar on the right flank, before delivering a precise cross into the box that evaded all Hyderabad defenders. Silva made a timely run into the box and volleyed the ball home to give East Bengal the lead.

However, Hyderabad FC showcased their resilience by leveling the scoreline in the 45th minute.

East Bengal, though, remained undeterred by Hyderabad’s equalizer and started the second half with the same attacking mindset. Cleiton Silva showcased his skill and precision by scoring with a beautifully curled free-kick from 30 yards out, putting East Bengal ahead once more.

But Hyderabad fought their way back into the match once again in the 79th minute when Tamang converted the penalty to help Hyderabad draw level.

East Bengal, though, found their hero in Crespo, who was brought on as a substitute at the start of the second half and scored the winner.

In the second game of the day, Mohun Bagan Super Giant came back from behind to defeat I League side Sreenidi Deccan.

Sreenidi Deccan drew the first blood after William Oliveira converted from the spot in the 28th minute.

The Mariners upped their game after falling behind and there was definite intent and purpose in their attacks to get back on level terms. They did not have to wait long for the equalizer as Cummings slotted the ball home into an empty net in the 39th minute when Abhishek Suryawanshi’s pile driver fell kindly for the Australian after rattling the crossbar.

Sustained pressure from Mohun Bagan finally forced Sreenidi to succumb in the 71st minute, with Sadiku putting his team in the lead.

After the first two games, East Bengal FC stands at the top of Group A based on goal difference while Mohun Bagan sits in second place.

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