Super Cup: Bengaluru FC sneak into semi-finals after RoundGlass Punjab end Sreenidi Deccan’s hopes

April 17, 2023

FootballIndian Super League


Bengaluru FC progressed into the semi-finals of the Super Cup after a 1-1 draw with Kerala Blasters. Before the final group A fixtures, Bengaluru, Sreenidi Deccan and Blasters all had a chance of going into the semi-finals. However, with Sreenidi Deccan losing 1-0 to RoundGlass Punjab, the Blues sneaked into the last-four as group A winners.

RoundGlass Punjab could progress nowhere because of the three points they earned, but played perfect spoilsport by ending Sreenidi Deccan’s campaign.

In the recently concluded I-League, RoundGlass emerged champions, followed by Sreenidi Deccan, who, despite being early in the lead in the points table, faltered during the closing stages to surrender the title.

Bengaluru came out with the intent to take matters into their own hands and got an early lead in the 23rd minute through Roy Krishna, but Kerala Blasters, backed by a crowd of 22,565 spectators, came roaring back through Diamantakos Dimitrios, who netted in the 78th minute.

The game lived up to its expectations as both sides displayed some beautiful pieces of team effort. Bengaluru FC began the proceedings on the strong foot, dominating possession in the first 10 minutes.

Naorem Roshan Singh, who once again showcased his exciting talent on the night, had the first real chance of scoring in the game. The 24-year-old dribbled past three Kerala Blasters players and took a shot on goal, but his effort went straight into the goalkeeper’s hands.

The Blasters, on the other hand, charged on the counter and kept the Bengaluru defence busy. In the 16th minute, Saurav Mandal struck well from the edge of the box, but his on-target effort was comfortably saved by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

However, it was Javi Hernandez, who stole the show in the middle of the park. The Spaniard ran Bengaluru’s engine from the centre with his sheer quality and composure on the ball.

It was his magical flick in the 23rd minute, followed by a defence-splitting pass that resulted in Simon Grayson’s men taking the lead. Krishna got rid of the goalkeeper and poked the ball in. An incoming Victor Mongil couldn’t clear it off the line as Bengaluru made it 1-0.

The Spanish defender, however, came up with one of the bravest blocks of the tournament in the 33rd minute. He put his head on the line of an incoming volley from Krishna that seemingly looked to end up in the back of the net.

Both sides continued to display some wonderful passages and kept the ball moving from one wing to the other in search of a breakthrough. Much to the delight of the Blues, RoundGlass Punjab FC simultaneously took the lead in their game against Sreenidi Deccan FC in the 41st minute, courtesy Valpuia’s header.

The Punjab side earned a free-kick on the right and as Spanish midfielder Juan Mera Gonzalez put it high in the rival penalty box, Valpuia jumped high in the air to outsmart the defenders and nod the ball home.

After switching sides, Kerala Blasters looked more ferocious in attack. The men in yellow produced waves of attacks and kept the spectators on their feet. In the 50th minute, Diamantakos Dimitrios saw his powerful strike from a free-kick saved by Gurpreet.

The Bengaluru custodian recorded one too many saves in a span of 15 minutes. He denied efforts from Rahul KP and Nishu Kumar, both aerial and grounded. But in the end, it was the Blasters’ relentlessness in attack that paid dividends.

Meanwhile in Manjeri, RoundGlass had a chance to go further up in the 62nd minute when Sreenidi goalkeeper Aryan Niraj Lamba had to do his best to foil Slovakian Luka Majcen. He, perhaps, could have found himself beaten on the rebound, but heaved a sigh of relief when Krishnanda Singh shot the ball over the bar.

Back in Kozhikode, Blasters substitute Nihal Sudeesh found the breakthrough in the 77th minute from the right flank. The attacker’s cross inside the box took a deflection and the resultant loose aerial ball was headed in by Diamantakos to draw the scores level.

In the dying seconds of the game, Bengaluru once again survived a scare from Diamantakos. The Greek forward struck powerfully from close range on target, but the ever-present Gurpreet was in the right position to keep it away from danger.

The Blues held on till the end and fortunately for them, so did RoundGlass Punjab. The result means Bengaluru will face Jamshedpur FC in the first Super Cup semi-final.

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