The main round of the inaugural Hero Super Cup kicked off in the Kalinga Stadium Bhubaneswar today, with Hero ISL IV Champions Chennaiyin FC taking on last season’s I League champions Aizawl FC.
The match provided a perfect platform for two Champion teams of the different leagues to face of against each other. While the onus was on Aizawl FC to get the better of the ISL counterparts, the pressure surely was on the ISL champions Chennaiyin FC whose coach felt that the I league was a lesser league compared to the ISL.
The match started on a bright note with Aizawl attacking more, and they were eventually rewarded when Andrei scored for the team from Mizoram with a brilliant curling effort. The scoreboard at halftime read 1-0 in favour of the Reds.
Chennaiyin came back with more vigour in the second half and played a more attacking brand of football. They eventually scored in the 90th minute through Mailson Alves the man who won them the ISL this season, too take the game to Extra time.
Aizawl took the lead in the first minute of extra time through Andrei and ended the first half of Extra time with Aizawl leading 2-1.
The Super Machans eventually equalised again this time too from a defender when Dhanachandra scored a screamer to take the game into a penalty shootout. At the end of 120 minutes, the scoreboard read 2-2.
Aizawl won the tie in penalty shootouts with the scoreboard reading 2-2 (7-5), to qualify for the quarter-final of the Super Cup and also managed to knock out this season’s ISL Champions Chennaiyin FC
On that note, let us take a look at the player ratings of today’s game
Karanjit Singh (6/10): Karanjit Singh didn’t have much to do, as most of the action happened just outside his penalty box. But he did make one good save from a Dodoz shot. He also did a good job to snatch the ball from Alfred’s feet which looked to be a pure goalscoring opportunity for Aizawl.
Keenan Almeida (4.5/10): Keenan had a poor game, and was often found wandering in the wrong places at the wrong time. His crosses were poor and often failed to track back properly on time.
Mailson Alves (8/10): Mailson had a big role to play today, as he covered for the likes of Keenan and Dhana on a regular basis. He was the only Chennaiyin defender who seemed to be able to cope with the Aizawl attackers. He also had a couple of good chances to score but missed his mark. Mailson eventually scored the equaliser for Chennai with 90 seconds left.
Dhanachandra Singh (7/10): Dhana, to be true, was shaky today in defence as he looked out of position on a couple of occasions. His positioning was really poor which caused huge gaps to appear in the Chennaiyin backline. His passes were also very poor and often handed out possession to Aizawl. Dhana though made up for everything with a stunning strike in extra time to level the score for Chennaiyin.
Jerry Lalrinzuala (6.5/10): Jerry had a busy game today as he was kept busy by the likes of Kima and Dodoz in defence. He was also beaten often by the likes of Dodoz and Andrei but did a good job to track back and cover his tracks, he also made sure that he didn’t give the Aizawl wingers space to put in the crosses.
Dhanpal Ganesh (6/10): Dhanpal was booked early in the game, which limited his tackles to a degree. He was completely overrun by the likes of Masih, Alfred and Andrei. His passing was also poor today.
Anirudh Thapa (5.5/10): Thapa Had the best chance of the first half for Chennaiyin when he found himself one on one with the Aizawl keeper only to see Arup Debnath pull off a stunning save from Thapa’s shot. He did well to track back and help out his defenders, he also had the task of shadowing Alfred and Andrei in midfield.
Jamie Gavilan (6.5/10): Jamie Gavilan was rarely seen on the ball apart from taking the set pieces. He wasted a couple of set pieces too in the first half. Jamie though, put on a stellar performance in the second half to put in a great display as he looked to control the game and put in some good passes.
Jude Nworuh (5.5/10): Jude tried to get past Munmawia with some fancy flicks and touches but wasn’t very successful. He seldom tracked back to help out Keenan which gave Aizawl a lot of space down the right flank.
Francis Fernandes (4.5/10): Francis was seldom seen on the pitch today. His contribution towards Attack and defence was minimum. He was rightly subbed off at halftime.
Md. Rafi (5/10): Rafi looked lively with his movement up front, but wasn’t effective with the ball at his feet. Apart from one good pass to Thapa, Rafi didn’t have any proper contribution to the game. He failed to connect to the few crosses that came his way. Skied his penalty shootout kick and gave Aizawl the advantage, and eventually the game.
Bikramjit (6.5/10): Bikramjit came on and got booked, despite the yellow card he didn’t stop putting in those tackles. He also did a good job to track back and help the defenders.
Bedeshwor Singh (5.5/10): Had the best chance of the game for Chennaiyin, but his inexperience showed as he skied an effort from 12 yards out.
Thoi Singh (6.5/10): Thoi had a calming effect on the Chennaiyin side, as his introduction helped Chennaiyin create more chances. His runs down the flanks and grit and determination to win balls helped Chennaiyin control the game. It was also his header that rebounded of the crossbar which helped Mailson score the equaliser in 90th minute.
Arup Debnath (5.5/10): Pulled off a stunning save from an Anirudh Thapa shot in the dying moments of the first half. He was though culpable for both the goals that Chennaiyin scored. He did though make a few good saves.
Masih Saighani (8/10): Saighani played in a rather unusual role in midfield that too as an attacking midfielder in the first half, he had a very effective impact on the game, and won a lot of balls in midfield, he drifted wide towards the flanks and also dropped deep to help out the defence and control the game. Masih dropped into the role of a defensive midfielder in the second half.
Lalramhmunmawia (6.5/10): The Aizawl left-back had a solid first half as he was up against the likes of Jude Nworuh. He made sure to cover his lines very well, and didn’t let the likes of Jude and Keenan run past him.
Laldinliana (6/10): The right winger had a solid first half, as he ran past Jerry on a couple of occasions and helped out Lalrosanga. It was his defensive duties in the first half that got everyone’s attention.
Hmingthang Mawia (7/10): The centre-back was solid in the first half, as he stopped nearly all the attacks Chennaiyin made. Apart from one instant he was never beaten and made crucial interceptions and clearances.
Alfred Jaryan (7.5/10): The ever dependent man for Aizawl, Alfred controlled the whole game from the midfield. Alfred played some delicious passes to likes of Dodoz and Andrei. He played a very good defensive role in the second half.
Lalkhawpuimawia (6/10): The Mizo striker looked dangerous whenever he received the ball. He changed his positions cleverly to outfox his markers and create space for the likes of Andrei and Dodoz. He also dropped deep and helped out his defenders whenever required.
Lalrosanga (6.5/10): The Right back of Aizawl had a very good first half, as he won nearly all the duels and made sure the likes of Jerry and Francis didn’t get their crosses into the box. He also ventured forward whenever the opportunity presented itself.
Lalchhawnkima (7.5/10): He was probably the best defender on the pitch in the first half, He was solid with clearances, and cleared the balls with intelligence rather than just hoping it forward. He also had a high number blocks and interceptions.
Andrei Ionescu (9/10): Ionescu scored the opening goal of the night when he dummied past Anirudh Thapa and put in a perfect curler which went in albeit a deflection from Mailson Alves. Andrei did what he did in the first half again, but this time it was in extra time when he received a cross from the right wing and barged into the box and curled the ball past Karanjit into the goal. He troubled the Chennaiyin defence the most. He converted his penalty shootout kick with ease too.
Dodoz (7.5/10): Dodoz missed a golden chance to give Aizawl the lead in the 19th minute when he ran past the Chennaiyin defence from a Saighani only put his shot agonisingly wide. Dodoz had a couple of chances to increase Aizawl lead but failed to get a proper connection on the ball.
Lalmuan Kima (8/10): It was his cross in added time to Andrei which helped Aizawl take the lead in Extra time. He looked lively down the flanks and beat the defenders with some fine piece of tricks. He also did a good job to track back and help out his defenders. It was finally his Panenka penalty that won Aizawl the tie.
Chhuantea (6.5/10): Chhuantea did a good job to keep the likes of Rafi and Gavilan at bay. He also cleared a lot of aerial balls, but he could have done better during the goal Chennaiyin scored.
Mka (7/10): He was very good down the flanks and created a gem of an opportunity for Alfred, but Alfred failed to get a touch on it. He also did a good job defensively.