Super Cup final: East Bengal, Bengaluru FC chase first trophy of the season

East Bengal and Bengaluru FC will be chasing the first trophy of their seasons as they lock horns in the final of the Super Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here on Friday.

Gurpreet Sandhu (from left), Eduardo, Albert Roca and Khalid Jamil in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

East Bengal and Bengaluru FC will be chasing the first trophy of their seasons as they lock horns in the final of the Super Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here on Friday.

The decider offers East Bengal an opportunity to win its first major national title since the 2012 Federation Cup triumph. During this period, the Kolkata giant has seen seven managerial changes. Khalid Jamil, the man entrusted with steering the ship, will be feeling the heat, too, after his side could only finish fourth in the recently concluded league.

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For Bengaluru, which lost the ISL final in March after comfortably topping the league stages, winning the Super Cup will in some way establish itself as the best football club in the country.

Defensive concerns have mounted for the Blues in the lead-up after Nishu Kumar picked up a straight red in the semifinal win over Mohun Bagan. The team management will take a late call on the availability of centre-back Juanan, who fell ill, while Rahul Bheke remains injured. Midfielder Erik Paartalu may be required fill in the backline.

Spaniard Antonio Dovale, who helped engineer the comeback in the second half as a substitute on Tuesday, could be in line for a start alongside compatriot Victor Perez.

As seen in the last game, the forced change could be a blessing for Bengaluru. Dovale is quicker and isn’t afraid to play the risky passes as opposed to Paartalu. Roca may line up in a 4-3-3 setup to deal with the Red and Golds' attacking duo of Katsumi Yusa and Mahmoud Al-Amnah. 

In the rival camp, Khalid Jamil will be hoping that his striker Dudu Omagbemi recovers from his hamstring injury. The Nigerian was only involved in light training on Thursday. It could prove to be a blow for East Bengal's chances considering its recent struggles in front of goal.

Set-pieces could play a key factor, keeping in mind, both teams possess aerial threats. 

Roca's, well documented in-game changes could be an ace up BFC's sleeve. However, Jamil will be planning to react swiftly to cause an upset.