East Bengal Seal Final Berth with 2-0 win over Jamshedpur
East Bengal FC etched their name into the Kalinga Super Cup final with a decisive 2-0 triumph over Jamshedpur FC on Wednesday, January 24th. Goals from Hijazi Maher and Javier Siverio in each half sent the Red and Gold Brigade marching towards their second final of the season, much to the joy of the millions of Red and gold faithful around the world.
Both teams entered the semifinal brimming with confidence. East Bengal rode the wave of a 3-1 derby win over Mohun Bagan, while Jamshedpur FC secured their spot with two dominant victories in the group stage. Despite early intentions from both sides, both teams failed to find the finishing touches in the opening minutes.
East Bengal, however, proved lethal with their first real opportunity. In the 20th minute, Cleiton Silva’s corner found Saul Crespo unmarked at the far post. The Spaniard selflessly teed up Hijazi Maher, who tapped into an empty net for the opening goal. Jamshedpur responded with a golden chance of their own. Semboi Haokip’s clever run opened up space behind the East Bengal defence, but Rei Tachikawa’s powerful shot was brilliantly parried away by Prabhsukhan Gill.
Despite Jamshedpur’s constant threat, East Bengal remained dangerous on the counter. PV Vishnu tested Rehenesh TP with a long-range effort just before halftime, highlighting the Kolkata giants’ ability to strike back. At the break, the scoreboard reflected a tight encounter, but East Bengal’s clinical finishing had given them the edge.
The second half began with a bang for East Bengal. Nishu Kumar found space on the left flank and delivered a perfect cross that met Javier Siverio’s run. The Spaniard’s composed finish doubled the Kolkata giants’ lead within two minutes. The goal gave further impetus to East Bengal, led by the indomitable Carles Cuadrat, and allowed the boys to control the game early on in the second half.
With 10 minutes remaining, substitute Sayan Banerjee earned a penalty for East Bengal. However, Cleiton Silva’s shot from the spot hit the bar. Desperate to equalise, Jamshedpur deployed centre-back Elsinho as a makeshift striker. Elsinho tested Gill on a couple of occasions, while Pratik Chaudhari also came close, but East Bengal held firm under the late onslaught.
The final whistle blew, sending East Bengal into jubilant celebrations. Despite missing the penalty, their clinical finishing in the first half, combined with their resolute defending, proved enough to overcome Jamshedpur’s late pressure.
Speaking to the media after the win, Coach Cuadrat reserved his praises for the boys for yet another commendable performance. The Spaniard said that he is aware of the quality of the two sides playing the second semi-final and the Red and Gold Brigade would have to be at their best to grab the trophy on Sunday.
The boys will now await either Mumbai City FC or Odisha FC in the Kalinga Super Cup final on Sunday, January 29th, with an eye on adding the Super Cup to the cabinet and returning to continental competition.