Odisha FC has won their first-ever Hero Super Cup, defeating Bengaluru FC 2-1 at the EMS Corporation Stadium. Brazilian Diego Mauricio scored both goals for Odisha in the first half, while Sunil Chhetri scored a penalty in the 85th minute for Bengaluru FC to reduce the margin. With Bengaluru FC playing their third final of the season, Odisha did all the damage in the first half, causing trouble from set-pieces and making a cautious start to their first-ever final.
Rain-marred affair makes proceedings cagey
In a rain-lashed kick-off, Bengaluru FC started as the more authoritative of the two sides, keeping possession in the opposition half, while Odisha sat back. However, as the rain died down, Bengaluru lost command of the ball, and Odisha began causing trouble from set-pieces. The breakthrough for Odisha came dramatically in the 23rd minute when Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made a hash of what should have been a routine collection from a harmless-looking Diego Mauricio free-kick.
Maurcio would go close again a few minutes later, heading a Jerry Mawihmingthanga cross wide of the far post. Odisha continued to go full throttle, and Mauricio made it 2-0 seven minutes before halftime.
With Bengaluru looking disheveled, Clifford Miranda's men could have still added to their lead before the break. Nandha Kumar sent a curling volley from the edge of the box, which Gurpreet was equal to, and Jerry caused trouble down the flank, entering the box from the right before thundering a strong effort off the crossbar.
Odisha dominates tired Bangalore
Bengaluru made four changes for the second half to avoid a second final loss in just over a month, but Odisha continued to dominate. Mauricio had a long-range effort, and Victor had a cheeky chipped attempt that Gurpreet saved.
Nandha replicated his danger on the right and sent a powerful low shot, which Prabir managed to deflect onto the side-netting. It took 77 minutes for Bengaluru to test Amrinder with their first attempt on target, but it wasn't particularly threatening.
With just five minutes to go, Sivasakthi was brought down in the box by Nandha, and Sunil Chhetri lodged the resulting penalty into the back of the net. Bengaluru had a chance to equalize in the dying moments, but Suresh Wangam's cross from the left was narrowly headed wide by Jhingan. Odisha held on to claim their first-ever trophy and made history by becoming the first Indian coach to win the Super Cup.
(To receive our E-paper on WhatsApp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)