Bitter foes Mohun Bagan Super Giant and East Bengal will renew their rivalry when they clash in the Super Cup with an aim to seal the semifinal spot in Bhubaneswar on Friday. They have six points each in Group A and are also level on goal difference ( 2), but East Bengal have a slight edge on goals scored. A draw will do for Carles Cuadrat’s side as they chase their first semi-final appearance in the Super Cup since the inaugural edition in 2018.
“Both teams must be very motivated. We know in football that when you’re looking for a draw, you end up losing the game. So, for us, it’s about winning. No question about that,” said Cuadrat at the pre-match press conference.
East Bengal forward Cleiton Silva agreed with his coach’s view.
“We cannot go for a draw, we must win the game. It’s always interesting to play a derby. It’s a big game, the biggest game in India. I’m happy to be a part of it,” said the Brazilian.
Both teams are missing Indian players who are a part of the national team at the ongoing AFC Asian Cup.
“It’s also going to be the first Kolkata Derby in Odisha since the 2017 Federation Cup semi-final in Cuttack, where Mohun Bagan ran out 2-0 winners.
“We are training well and are very focused. We have been working on our tactics. The only difference between here and other competitions like the ISL and the Durand Cup is that now we can play six foreigners.
“It can make a difference, but the rest is the same. Our players have the same never-say-die attitude, and I’m very happy to see that.” Friday’s meeting is set to be the third Kolkata derby of the season.
While East Bengal edged Mohun Bagan SG 1-0 in the Durand Cup group stage, the Mariners ultimately had the last laugh, defeating their arch-rivals in the final with the same scoreline.
But the scenario is different in the Kalinga Super Cup. With just one team progressing to the semi-finals, the losers go home on Friday.
“We know the significance of this match, not just in terms of the derby but, more importantly, in terms of a semi-final spot. That’s the most important thing,” said Mohun Bagan SG coach Clifford Miranda.
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