East Bengal FC’s 12-Year Wait Ends in Kalinga Super Cup Triumph!
It was a day etched in Red and Gold forever. East Bengal FC, fueled by a fervent fanbase and unwavering determination, finally ended their 12-year wait for a national trophy by lifting the Kalinga Super Cup after a thrilling 3-2 victory over Odisha FC in a pulsating extra-time final.
The early exchanges were a cagey affair, both teams sizing each other up. East Bengal started brightly, creating several promising chances but failing to find the elusive breakthrough. Odisha FC, however, capitalised on their first clear opportunity in the 39th minute. Diego Mauricio, a constant menace throughout the match, latched onto a pinpoint cross and fired a powerful header past the East Bengal goalkeeper, sending a wave of elation through the Odisha faithful.
The Red and Gold Brigade, known for their never-say-die spirit, refused to buckle under the pressure. Coach Carles Cuadrat made a tactical masterstroke at halftime, injecting fresh legs in the form of Naorem Mahesh Singh and Chhungunga. The impact was immediate. Just seven minutes into the second half, Naorem’s defence-splitting pass found Nandhakumar Sekar in a blistering run. The East Bengal winger outpaced the Odisha defence and coolly slotted the ball past the advancing goalkeeper, igniting a deafening roar from the East Bengal stands.
The momentum swung further in East Bengal’s favour when Odisha FC defender Mourtada Fall received a red card for a reckless challenge on Borja Herrera. The Red and Gold Brigade capitalised on their numerical advantage, and Saul Crespo calmly converted a penalty in the 60th minute to put them ahead for the first time.
However, the script was far from over. In a dramatic turn of events, Odisha FC was awarded a penalty in the dying moments of injury time. Ahmed Jahouh, with nerves of steel, audaciously chipped the ball Panenka-style, sending the match into extra time with the scores tied at 2-2.
The extra time period was a tense affair, with both teams desperate for the winning goal and with Shouvik being sent off for his 2nd yellow, the Red and Gold Brigade lost their man advantage. Just when it seemed the match was destined for a penalty shootout, East Bengal captain Cleiton Silva stepped up to the plate. In the 111th minute, he pounced on a loose ball in the Odisha FC box and unleashed a thunderous shot that found the back of the net, sending the East Bengal bench and fans into a frenzy of celebration.
The final whistle blew shortly after, confirming East Bengal FC’s historic triumph. The Red and Gold Brigade, once again draped in glory, had finally conquered their long-standing drought, proving that their spirit and unwavering faith could overcome any obstacle.
“The team has developed very good dynamics which is visible in the consistency of its performance. The club has been fighting for results for a long time.
“The players were very positive this time and that got them to the crown,” said an elated Carles Cuadrat after the match.
This victory was more than just a trophy; it was a testament to the unwavering support of the East Bengal faithful, who stood by their team through thick and thin. It was a victory for resilience, for hope, and for the unwavering belief that dreams, even after 12 long years, can indeed come true.
With a momentous night behind them, the Red and Gold will now look forward to the 3rd of February, where they face local rivals Mohun Bagan in the Kolkata derby as ISL action returns to the city!