Memorable encounters from the inaugural Hero Super Cup
The first edition of the Hero Super Cup served up a treat with Bengaluru FC emerging as the champions, courtesy a comprehensive 4-1 victory over East Bengal in the Final on Friday. Throughout the course of the competition, the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar lay witness to some breathtaking goals, inspiring comebacks and pulsating drama. Here we take a look at five of the best matches that gifted the passionate football fans loaded entertainment.
Aizawl FC stun the Hero ISL champions
After picking up their second Hero Indian Super League (ISL) title in three years in the 2017-18 season, Chennaiyin FC came into the tournament as heavy favourites. However, former Hero I-League champions Aizawl FC pulled off a major upset when they beat the Marina Machans in the pre-quarter finals. After 120 minutes of intense action and the score tied at 2-2, the game headed into the dreaded penalty shootout, where the Mizoram-based side beat Chennaiyin 5-3 to advance to the quarter-finals.
NEROCA FC’s 12-minute rampage down Kerala Blasters FC
In what would prove to be one of the most entertaining games of the competition, NEROCA came back from two goals down to beat Kerala Blasters FC 3-2 in the pre-quarter finals. Enjoying a two-goal cushion until the 70th-minute mark, David James’ men looked like they would comfortably progress to the quarter-finals. However, a young NEROCA side dramatically turned things around with goals from Jean Joachim, Aryn Williams and Felix Odili Chidi, all in a space of twelve minutes, to completely shock the yellow brigade.
Ralte’s injury-time winner sinks Aizawl FC
The quarter-final between Hero I-League rivals East Bengal and Aizawl was a truly end-to-end affair. Throughout the 90 minutes, both sides created a host of chances to break the deadlock but just could not find the back of the net. However, Bengal were gifted a golden chance to run away as winners, when the referee awarded them a penalty right at the death. Laldanmawia Ralte was given the responsibility to see the Kolkata giants through and he stepped up to comfortably convert the spot-kick, breaking Aizawl’s hearts in the process.
10-men Bengaluru FC pull-off unlikely comeback against Mohun Bagan
The semi-final clash between Bengaluru and Bagan was one to remember for a number of reasons. Things didn’t look too good for the Blues when Dipanda Dicka put the Mariners in the front and Nishu Kumar was shown a straight red card for a last-ditch challenge. However, Miku proved to be the saviour on the night, as he netted a brilliant hat-trick to complete the comeback. Sunil Chhetri then sealed the tie in the dying minutes of the game with a sumptuous curled effort from the edge of the box, taking the steam completely off Bagan’s attempted fightback.
Bengaluru replicate comeback heroics to clinch the title
Bengaluru proved their grit and steely resolve when they overcame a stubborn East Bengal in the Final of the Hero Super Cup. Despite Ansumana Kromah giving Bengal the lead, the Blues showed their class when they turned the tie around in emphatic fashion. Goals from Rahul Bheke, Miku and a brace for Sunil Chhetri ensured Bengaluru became the first champions of the competition and completed another determined comeback by keeping their composure intact.