Friday night, April 22, 2023, at the Payyanad Stadium, proved to be a day of celebrations for Odisha FC as they made their first-ever Hero Super Cup final, defeating NorthEast United FC 3-1.
A double strike by Nandha Kumar and a goal from Diego Mauricio were enough for Odisha to register a smooth win despite being down by an early goal scored by NorthEast’s prolific goal-getter and Colombian striker Wilmar Jordan.
In the final to be played on Tuesday, Odisha FC’s rivals will be formidable Bengaluru FC, who have made their third final of the season.
On Friday, the clash between Odisha and NorthEast was their third of the season. Odisha FC won on both occasions earlier and played well enough to make it the third in a row.
NorthEast United, however, showed early promise and struck in the very second minute when winger Rochharzela from the right crossed the ball in the box for Jordan to slam in leaving Amrinder Singh under the Odisha FC bar with no time to react.
But then, Odisha didn’t take much time to come back and find the equaliser. Spanish midfielder Victor Rodriguez Romero released a well-timed through pass down the right flank to Jerry Mawihmingthanga.
NorthEast wing back Ngasepam Tondonba Singh was beaten as Jerry whipped in a low cross inside the penalty box and striker Nandha Kumar was quick to beat Mirshad Koottappunna with a fine header. Odisha FC midfielder Princeton Rebello also deserves credit in the build-up play, as he was the one who won the loose ball in midfield and started the attack.
Odisha started the second half with lots of determination as they maintained the upper hand in the attacking half. Finally, Clifford Miranda’s boys found the lead in the 64th minute when Nandha Kumar and Victor Rodriguez played a few passes among them inside the penalty area before the Spanish midfielder left it for Nadha to do the needful.
NorthEast kept knocking at the Odisha goal to get the equaliser but were not able to convert their chances. On the other hand, Brazilian forward Diego Mauricio further widened the lead before the full-time whistle. The forward, who was a consistent scorer in the Hero Indian Super League, made it 3-1 with a low shot into the bottom corner, beating Mirshad hands down.