The 2018 Super Cup draws to a close with East Bengal and Bengaluru FC set to lock horns in the final at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha on Friday.
|Game||East Bengal vs Bengaluru FC|
|Date||Friday, 20 April|
|Time||4:00 PM IST (GMT +5:30)|
TV CHANNELS & LIVE STREAM
The Star Sports Network have the exclusive broadcasting rights of the Super Cup. The games will be telecast with the option of English and/or Hindi commentary over their bouquet of television as well as digital platforms.
|India (English) TV channel||Online streams|
|Star Sports 2/2 HD||Hotstar and Jio TV|
Injured: Mohammed Rafique
Doubtful: Dudu Omagbemi
Key Players: Mahmoud Al Amna, Katsumi Yusa
Doubtful: Rahul Bheke, Juanan
Suspended: Nishu Kumar
Key Players: Sunil Chhetri, Miku
East Bengal and Bengaluru FC have the elusive opportunity in the final to win the inaugural edition of the Super Cup.
The two sides are no strangers as they have faced each other nine times before Bengaluru FC opted to join the Indian Super League (ISL) bandwagon.
East Bengal are starved of a major title for six seasons after having last won the now-defunct Federation Cup in 2012. After finishing fourth in the I-League earlier this season, the Kolkata giants will be itching to regain lost ground in terms of trophies won by their direct rivals, Mohun Bagan, in the last few years.
The Red and Golds made hard work of their semi-final tie against a beleaguered FC Goa. Dudu Omagbemi's goal helped them squeeze out a 1-0 win in the final quarter of an hour. However, the Nigerian injured himself in the process of scoring and remains doubtful to recover on time.
Despite talks of a fallout between head coach Khalid Jamil and technical director Subash Bhowmick, the starting eleven for the Kolkata giants has remained constant throughout the tournament. With Dudu's situation doubtful, Ansumana Kromah is likely to be handed a start.
The Liberian will need to string up a partnership with Katsumi Yusa and Mahmoud Al Amna. East Bengal have been poor in converting chances in the final third.
Much of the spotlight will be on the defence who need to ensure that the dangerous duo of Sunil Chhetri and Miku are kept at bay.
A defeat for Bengaluru FC will mean a first season without any domestic success since their inception in 2013.
However, the ISL final loss to Chennaiyin just over a month ago still lingers fresh and Bengaluru will hope to put an end to that chapter with a win in Bhubaneshwar. Interestingly, Albert Roca has never tasted victory against East Bengal in two attempts. To add to it, the Spaniard has selection headaches going into the final.
Juanan pulled up during the warm-ups before the semi-final and a cloud still hangs over his fitness. Nishu Kumar, who was shown a red card, is suspended and Harmanjot Singh Khabra failed to impress after making a comeback from injury last time.
Roca has been accused of tweaking his system before a big match. However, with many of his preferred players not available, the Blues will focus on having three at the back with Udanta Singh likely to reprise his role as a wing-back.
The USP of Bengaluru rests on the Chhetri and Miku, who have both registered hat-tricks in the tournament. Most importantly, Bengaluru FC have shown immense fight on two occasions to come back from a goal down and win the game, most recently in the 4-2 win over Mohun Bagan in the semifinal.
There has never been a draw between the two teams. Can Albert Roca help Bengaluru win the title, over the experienced head of Subhash Bhowmick.