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Indian football this week (Nov 27-Dec 3): Super Cup clashes with AFC Asian Cup; century of goals in ISL

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The past week has seen a string of events in Indian football, from the change of name of the Super Cup to Kalinga Super Cup to a century of goals in this season of the Indian Super League (ISL).

Sportstar looks at all the happenings in the past week that made headlines from the football in this part of the world:

ISL 2023-24 gets past the 100-goal mark

Punjab FC produced a relentless effort to hold Bengaluru FC to a 3-3 draw at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Thursday. However, the opening strike by Nikhil Prabhu in that high-scoring thriller brought up a remarkable feat, i.e. the 100th goal of the current ISL season.

Nikhil Prabhu celebrates scoring the 100th goals of the Indian Super League in the match between Punjab FC and Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.

Nikhil Prabhu celebrates scoring the 100th goals of the Indian Super League in the match between Punjab FC and Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.
| Photo Credit:
Focus Sports/ISL

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Nikhil Prabhu celebrates scoring the 100th goals of the Indian Super League in the match between Punjab FC and Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.
| Photo Credit:
Focus Sports/ISL

So far, 114 goals have been notched in 44 games, which averages to 2.59 strikes per match in this campaign. The season started off briskly, with the increased competitiveness between sides resulting in more closely-fought encounters.

However, there was a proven effort from clubs this week to break out of their shackles and that gave rise to victories by bigger margins altogether.

Super Cup renamed as Kalinga Super Cup

The Kalinga Super Cup will be organised in Odisha starting from January 9, 2024, the All India Football Federation announced on Wednesday. The matches are planned to be held in two different venues in Odisha.

Both Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League teams have been invited to take part in the annual tournament. The tournament format will consist of four groups of four teams each, who will play single-leg matches amongst themselves.

Odisha FC and Bengaluru FC played the last edition of the Super Cup with the former winning the title for the first time.

Odisha FC and Bengaluru FC played the last edition of the Super Cup with the former winning the title for the first time.
| Photo Credit:
AIFF Media

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Odisha FC and Bengaluru FC played the last edition of the Super Cup with the former winning the title for the first time.
| Photo Credit:
AIFF Media

The group winners will qualify for the semifinals followed by the final on January 28, 2024.

The I-League teams will play qualifiers to get into the Cup’s group stage, where four slots have been reserved for them.

Since the tournament will be played during the AFC Asian Cup, the participating clubs will be without the players selected for the national team. The Champion of the Kalinga Super Cup will be nominated to play in the ACL 2 Preliminary Stage of the AFC 2023-24 season.

Matches of firsts for the Kolkata giants

Mohun Bagan Super Giant and East Bengal stand tall as the most iconic clubs in Indian football. The organic, deeply entrenched fan following that they garner is arguably second to none, and them doing well can only end up being good for the sport in India in general. The two clubs were coming into this week on the back of some indifferent results behind their back.

The Mariners had lost 5-2 to Odisha FC at home in the AFC Cup, whereas the Red & Gold Brigade hadn’t won an ISL game in over two months. Buoyed by proven ISL winning coaches, they gave a strong response, keeping clean sheets and putting goals aplenty past the opposition to notch a thoroughly convincing victory.

East Bengal celebrates beating NorthEast United FC in an Indian Super League match at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.

East Bengal celebrates beating NorthEast United FC in an Indian Super League match at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.
| Photo Credit:
Focus Sports/ISL

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East Bengal celebrates beating NorthEast United FC in an Indian Super League match at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.
| Photo Credit:
Focus Sports/ISL

At 5-0 against NorthEast United FC, East Bengal FC recorded its biggest ever win in ISL history. Similarly, Brendan Hamill and Asish Rai scored their first-ever ISL goals to lead the Mariners to a 2-0 win over Hyderabad FC.

Mohammedan SC cements lead on top of I-League

Mohammedan Sporting beat Sreenidi Deccan 2-1 to take a commanding lead at the top of the table, in its I-League 2023-24 game at the Naihati Stadium on Sunday.

With 19 points from seven matches, the Black and White Brigade became the lone leader in the points table, while Sreenidi remains on 16 after eight outings.

Mohammedan SC players celebrate after beating their closest rival, Sreenidi Deccan, in the I-league.

Mohammedan SC players celebrate after beating their closest rival, Sreenidi Deccan, in the I-league.
| Photo Credit:
AIFF Media

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Mohammedan SC players celebrate after beating their closest rival, Sreenidi Deccan, in the I-league.
| Photo Credit:
AIFF Media

Though three minutes later, Mirjalol Kasimov broke the deadlock in the 37th minute, burying the ball in the bottom corner. Eddie Hernandez doubled the lead on the hour mark with a brilliantly powered header after Remsanga and Vanlalzuidika’s interplay saw the latter put a lofted cross into the box.

Sreenidi Deccan tried to claw into the game when William Alves converted a penalty in the 84th minute after Lalbiakliana was hacked down inside the box by Mohamed Irshad. But the host proved to be defensively solid to run out to the last few minutes, securing yet another win in the league.

National champion Karnataka drawn in Group B for final round draw of FIFA Santosh Trophy 2023-24

The draw for the 77th National Football Championship for the Santosh Trophy 2023-24 Final Round was conducted at the Football House in New Delhi on Thursday, November 30, 2023.

The dates for the Santosh Trophy has tentatively been fixed from February 21 to March 9, 2024.

For the first time since its inception in 1941, the Santosh Trophy will be held in Arunachal Pradesh.

For the first time since its inception in 1941, the Santosh Trophy will be held in Arunachal Pradesh.
| Photo Credit:
AIFF Media

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For the first time since its inception in 1941, the Santosh Trophy will be held in Arunachal Pradesh.
| Photo Credit:
AIFF Media

Twelve teams were divided into two groups of six each. The participants include six group stage winners (Goa, Delhi, Manipur, Assam, Services and Maharashtra), three best second-placed teams (Kerala, Mizoram and Railways), and three automatic qualifiers – hosts Arunachal Pradesh, last season’s champions Karnataka and finalists Meghalaya.

For the first time since its inception in 1941, the Santosh Trophy will be held in Arunachal Pradesh. The hosts were placed in Group A. The new format for the tournament will see an expanded knockout stage, with the top four teams from each group progressing to the quarterfinals.

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