East Bengal FC comfortably defeated Sreenidi Deccan 2-1 to notch up their second consecutive win in Group A of the Super Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. For East Bengal, Hijazi Maher and Javier Siverio were the scorers while William Alves de Oliveira reduced the margin for the Deccan Warriors.

East Bengal’s victory put an end to Sreenidi Deccan’s ambitions in the tournament and set the stage for an exciting and highly-anticipated derby against Mohun Bagan Super Giant, scheduled for January 19.

Both East Bengal and Mohun Bagan have earned six points each and share an identical goal difference of +2, underlining the closely matched nature of their performances.

However, East Bengal hold a slight edge in the standings, as they have scored more goals than Mohun Bagan, a key factor that places them at the top of the group. This scenario adds an extra layer of intensity to the upcoming derby, as the group winner will secure a spot in the semi-finals of the tournament.

With Mohun Bagan Super Giant already claiming a win against Hyderabad FC in the early match on Sunday and leading the group, East Bengal recognised the imperative need for a win to keep their knockout stage aspirations alive. As a result, the Red and Gold brigade approached the game with an aggressive, attacking mindset from the outset.

The first chance was created in the seventh minute. A through ball from Jose Antonio Pardo Lucas released Siverio but the Spanish forward shot his attempt wide despite finding himself with a lot of space.

However, Carles Cuadrat’s men didn’t need to wait long to take the lead. Four minutes later, Sreenidi Deccan’s Rilwan Hassan fouled Mohamad Rakip on the left flank and East Bengal scored from the resultant free kick. Nishu Kumar sent in a cross into the box and Maher, positioned strategically, directed his header towards the far post with precision.

Buoyed by the goal, East Bengal continued to put pressure on the Sreenidi Deccan defence and created more chances. Their efforts paid off in the 31st minute when they managed to double their lead.

The goal was a result of team play, with Maher playing a pivotal role. He sent a long ball towards Cleiton Silva, who intelligently positioned himself between the defenders. Demonstrating great awareness, Silva then set up Siverio, who took a powerful left-footed shot that, aided by a deflection, found its way into the back of the net.

East Bengal continued to maintain momentum in the second half as well and kept exerting pressure on Sreenidi Deccan’s defence. However, an alert Sreenidi Deccan goalkeeper Aryan Niraj Lamba made some crucial saves to keep the scoreline intact.

Sreenidi Deccan managed to reduce the margin in the dying minutes of the match when Ajay Chhetri fouled R Lalbiakliana inside the box and the referee awarded the Deccan Warriors a penalty. Oliveira stepped up and converted from the spot.