Super Cup Media
Super Cup 2019 Round of 16 Preview: Tasty clashes await as tournament enters main rounds
Written by: Hero Super Cup
The knockout competition will witness intense competition once more with clubs from the ISL and I-League locking horns.
The knockout round of the highly anticipated Hero Super Cup commences on Friday with Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) clubs Chennaiyin FC and Mumbai City FC locking horns in the first pre-quarter final at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. Here we preview the eight matches that will take place over the next few days.
Chennaiyin FC Vs Mumbai City FC
After suffering a poor league campaign in the Hero ISL, Chennaiyin will be hoping to make amends when they begin their Super Cup campaign against the Islanders. The Marina Machans progressed to the knockouts after they were handed a walkover in the qualifiers against Aizawl FC. Coming into the tie against Mumbai City, Chennaiyin will be boosted by the return of midfielder Dhanpal Ganesh after a lengthy injury absence.
Mumbai, on the other hand, will be hoping to finish the season with silverware after narrowly missing out in the Hero ISL. The Islanders come into this tie as favourites, owing to their superior form over the league campaign and will be confident of securing a place in the quarterfinals.
Indian Arrows Vs FC Goa
After ousting Kerala Blasters during the qualifiers, Hero I-League side Indian Arrows will be riding high on confidence coming into the tie against FC Goa on Saturday. After finishing eighth during the 2018-19 league, a fine Cup run could go a long way towards salvaging some pride for the Arrows.
However, getting past a formidable FC Goa outfit will not be an easy task by any means. The Gaurs finished second-best to Bengaluru in the Hero ISL 2018-19 campaign and given the personnel within their ranks, they will be considering themselves as one of the favourites to go all the way.
Delhi Dynamos Vs East Bengal
Delhi Dynamos will take on Hero I-League heavyweights Quess East Bengal in what promises to be an exciting encounter on Saturday. Both sides come into this encounter on the back of contrasting seasons in their respective leagues. Delhi Dynamos struggled through most of Hero ISL 2018-19, finishing in eighth place, while East Bengal finished in second place, one point behind eventual Hero I-League champions Chennai City FC.
East Bengal will also come into this tournament with added motivation after they lost to Bengaluru FC in the final of the inaugural edition, last year. Meanwhile, Josep Gombau’s Delhi will hope to build on their fine momentum towards the end of the league campaign and progress far in the tournament.
Mohun Bagan Vs Bengaluru FC
Sunday’s first match will feature two of Indian football’s heavyweights clash swords against each other. Given the rivalry between the two sides, fans can expect a mouth-watering clash at the Kalinga Stadium. The two sides have squared off against each other numerous times in the Hero I-League, AFC Cup and the Federation Cup with plenty of edge-of-the-seat drama.
Bengaluru come into this tournament as favourites given their successes in the Hero ISL. More importantly, the Blues are the defending champions and will be hoping to add another trophy to their cabinet in a few weeks’ time. Bagan, on the other hand, will be hoping to salvage something from their campaign after finishing in fifth place.
FC Pune City Vs Chennai City FC
Phil Brown’s resurgent FC Pune City begin their Hero Super Cup commitments against current Hero I-league champions, Chennai City FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. Despite finishing the Hero ISL 2018-19 campaign in seventh place, Brown’s men gave a good account of themselves and finished the season on a strong note. The talismanic Iain Hume returned towards to the end and will now be in perfect shape to spearhead Pune’s attack.
Chennai City though, will be a tough nut to crack following their success in the Hero I-league just a year after fending off relegation. They were also the top-scorers in the league with 48 goals and will logically play a central role in their progression to the latter stages of the Hero Super Cup.
ATK Vs Real Kashmir FC
Two-time Hero ISL champions, ATK avoided the possibility of a playoff by finishing in sixth place in the Hero ISL 2018-19 season and will now go toe-to-toe against Hero I-league’s Real Kashmir FC on Monday. The season didn’t exactly go to plan for Steve Coppell’s men who suffered from both misfortune and a lack of identity. The signing of Edu Garcia proved to be a hit in the latter part of the season as he shouldered some of the scoring burden to ease pressure of a then non-existent attack.
Real Kashmir on their part, had a fantastic debut in the Hero I-league, finishing above the likes of Mohun Bagan and Churchill Brothers in third place. The Snow Leopards were the league’s meanest defence, conceding just 14 goals all campaign in their 19 games. With ATK coming into the fixture without any meaningful thrust up front, the Northern club could spring a surprise to keep their staggering season going.
Jamshedpur FC Vs Churchill Brothers
After narrowly missing out on the Hero ISL 2018-19 semi-finals, Cesar Ferrando’s Miners will be eager to make amends in the Hero Super Cup beginning with an encounter against Hero I-league outfit, Churchill Brothers on Tuesday. Jamshedpur pushed the teams above them all the way before settling for a respectable fifth-placed finish in the league.
Two-time Hero I-league winners, Churchill Brothers on the other hand, had a mixed season where a culmination of too many draws left them fixated in fourth place. The Red Machines are an all-round outfit capable of adjusting their style according to the needs of the game, but the Miners’ compactness and direct approach will test another side of their game.
NEROCA FC Vs NorthEast United FC
The Highlanders would be etching to take the field in the Hero Super Cup after suffering a devastating loss both physically and mentally in their Hero ISL semi-final clash with Bengaluru FC. They’ll be facing Hero I-league side, NEROCA FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar on Wednesday, providing themselves a perfect opportunity to take their minds of a competition which they nearly turned on its head. However, it remains to be seen whether either of Bartholomew Ogbeche and Federico Gallego are included in the matchday squad.
Playing in their second Hero I-league season, NEROCA FC finished in sixth place, four places down from where they ended up in the previous campaign. Their form leading up to the Hero Super Cup hasn’t been great and will thus, be nervous against a team that rarely downs its tools.
Published: Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:13 PM IST