Super Cup final: East Bengal and Bengaluru FC have everything to play for
Written by: Sushobhan De
This is the last chance for both teams to win a domestic trophy this season and they will also battle it out to establish their supremacy in their respective leagues.
The stage is set as the much-hyped Super Cup comes down to its final day. East Bengal will play against the stalwarts of Indian football Bengaluru FC, in the final of the inaugural edition of the tournament. Many believe that it is going to be a battle between Bengaluru FC’s professionalism and East Bengal’s legacy - surely making the temperature go higher before the kickoff which will take place today at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar.
Conspicuously, it is also going to be a battle between the I-league and the ISL. The latter was said to be the superior of the two leagues before the start of the tournament, but right from the beginning, the I-league sides have not failed to prove that they are no less than their counterparts.
Bengaluru FC, who have set their standards high in Indian football had a good run in the tournament so far. They got the better off their opponents each time, beating Gokulam Kerala, NEROCA FC and Mohun Bagan on the way. The road to the finale was not easy for the Red and Gold as well, as they locked horns against Mumbai City, Aizawl FC and FC Goa whom they beat with not so lavish margins.
It is a must-win game for the Red and Gold as they will look to win a national trophy for the first time since 2012. Although, they have managed to win the Calcutta Football League several times in a row, the heavyweights have failed to win any major trophy in the recent past including their unpropitious run in the top flight which they last won in 2004. East Bengal fans have shown their outrage time and again as their beloved club has failed to live up to everybody's expectations.
The Kolkata giants have been the subject of fans' outrage many times this season. This could be a holy grail for both the East Bengal players and officials to restore the fans' faith in the side and their ability to continue scripting history in Indian football.
Unable to bag a trophy this season, the two giants have got everything to play for in the final. Meanwhile, Bengaluru FC have already played one final this year which they lost in a tight contest against fellow southerners Chennayin-FC. It is going to be a test of their resolve and commitment when they will set foot on the ground for another final. Keeping in mind that Albert Roca’s men are yet to win a trophy this season they will surely look to come out all guns blazing to lift up the trophy on Friday.
The two closely matched sides have both got men who can turn the game in favour of their teams on their given day at any point. Bengaluru FC will depend on the attacking trio of Sunil Chhetri, Miku and Udanta Singh as they played pivotal roles in the semi-final comeback against Mohun Bagan, winning the game 4-2, despite going a man down at the beginning of the second half.
East Bengal need to revamp their gameplan as they missed out on plenty of opportunities in the final third during the foregone stages of the Super Cup. On top of that, the Red and Gold are likely to miss their Nigerian striker Dudu Omagbemi’s services in the showpiece. The Nigerian got injured in the process of scoring the decisive goal in the semi-final against FC Goa.
The game is expected to be a full house as East Bengal and Bengaluru both have got a huge fan base all over India making it one of the best rivalries in Indian football in recent times.
Published: Fri Apr 20, 2018 06:51 PM IST