East Bengal FC on Tuesday rode on Cleiton Silva’s brace to start their 2024 Super Cup campaign with a 3-2 win over Hyderabad FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

The group A fixture saw Hyderabad draw level twice through Ramhlunchhunga and Nim Dorjee Tamang before Saul Crespo scored the winning goal for East Bengal in the 80th minute.

East Bengal have been struggling to score goals this season. On Tuesday, though, Silva led from the front as East Bengal looked to attack from the outset. The first significant chance came in the eighth minute when Nishu Kumar delivered a well-weighted cross from the left flank. Silva managed to head the ball down to Nandhakumar. However, Nandhakumar’s shot struck the crossbar.

Just two minutes later, another opportunity presented itself. Borja Herrera made an impressive run into the box and set up Silva for what looked like a promising shot. Unfortunately, Silva couldn’t capitalise on this chance, as he lobbed the ball over the crossbar in a frustrating miss.

East Bengal finally broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute. The move was initiated by Mohamad Rakip, who played a quick one-two with Nandhakumar on the right flank, before delivering a precise cross into the box that evaded all Hyderabad defenders. Silva made a timely run into the box and volleyed the ball home to give East Bengal the lead.

However, Hyderabad FC showcased their resilience by leveling the scoreline in the 45th minute. Mohammad Rafi played a beautiful through ball to Lalchhanhima Sailo on the right flank. Sailo, with great awareness, tracked back the ball and found Ramhlunchhunga unmarked inside the box. Ramhlunchhunga confidently dispatched the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

East Bengal, though, remained undeterred by Hyderabad’s equaliser and started the second half with the same attacking mindset. Silva continued to be a key figure in East Bengal’s offensive efforts and gave his side the lead again in the 54th minute. His beautifully curled free-kick from 30 yards out, put East Bengal ahead once more.

But Hyderabad fought their way back into the match once again in the 79th minute when Makan Chote played a square pass to Ramhlunchhunga inside the box. The latter then tried to go past Souvik Chakrabarti before the East Bengal defender decided to foul him. The referee Harish Kundu immediately pointed at the spot and Tamang converted the penalty to help Hyderabad draw level.

East Bengal, though, found their hero in Crespo, who was brought on as a substitute at the start of the second half. Borja Herrera floated in a corner from the left and an unmarked Crespo easily headed home the winner and gave East Bengal three crucial points.