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Hero Super Cup 2023 Second Qualifying Round Preview

The Hero Super Cup returned after four years with the first qualifying round match on 3rd April 2023 at the Payyanad stadium in Manjeri. Check out here the Hero Super Cup 2023 Second Qualifying Round Preview.

Last updated: 04.04.2023
Hero Super Cup 2023 Second Qualifying Round Preview

The Hero Super Cup returned after four years with the first qualifying round match on 3rd April 2023 at the Payyanad stadium in Manjeri. This is the first time the tournament is being held in Kerala with 16 teams participating in the group stages. 12 teams have automatically qualified for the main competition with the remaining four teams joining them from the second qualifying round. The winners of the Super Cup will also fight it out against 2021/22 I-League winners Gokulam Kerala FC in a playoff game to earn a spot in the 2023/24 AFC Cup group stages.

First qualifying round result


Rajasthan United FC 2-2 Neroca FC AET (Neroca win 1-3 on penalties)

The first game in the Super Cup since 2019 was filled with drama as the ninth-placed side in the past I-league season, Rajasthan United FC clashed with Neroca in the first qualifying round who ranked just below them in the league. The side from Manipur drew the first blood after Rajasthan United goalkeeper Vishal Joon spilled the ball inside the box leading Lunminlen Haokip to tap home before the half-time whistle. Substitute Shaiborlang Kharpan restored parity in the 65th minute with Rajasthan’s defender Jagdeep Singh making a vital clearance off the line in the dying minutes to make sure the game entered extra time. Goals also followed in this period as the Desert Warriors went in front this time through Lalremsanga. Just when Neroca thought they had lost the game after defender Lallenmang was given a straight red for a bad tackle, Sweden Fernandes scored in the added time of extra-time to end it level again. Penalties were inevitable to decide the match and the Orange Brigade got their reward of not losing hope in extra time by winning 4-3 in the shootout. Soram Poerei who came in place of number one Subham Das in the shootout made three heroic saves to send his side to the second qualifying round of the Hero Super Cup 2023.           


Second qualifying round preview


Sreenidhi Deccan vs Neroca FC

The first match of the second qualifying round will pair I-League runners-up Sreenidhi Deccan with Neroca FC, winners of the first qualifying round. The Deccan Warriors were in a toe-to-toe battle with RoundGlass Punjab FC for the I-League and the subsequent promotion to the Indian Super League. However, their inconsistent form towards the end of the season allowed the latter to creep to the top and claim the title. Sreenidhi will hope to keep that disappointment aside by reaching the group stages of the Super Cup. On the other hand, Neroca FC will be buoyant by the manner of victory against Rajasthan United FC and will be looking forward to qualifying for the main tournament following a disappointing I-League season finishing just above the relegation zone in the 10th position.            


Gokulam Kerala FC vs Mohammedan FC

The second match of this qualifying round will see last year’s I-League winners Gokulam Kerala FC taking on Kolkata giants Mohammedan FC in a high-voltage fixture. The dominant side from South India in the last years expected a third straight I-League trophy that could have handed them promotion to ISL but their season went wrong. At last, Gokulam had to settle for third place with a difference of 13 points from the top. There is still a chance for them to move into continental level competitions with the AFC Cup group stage berth up for grabs with the winner of the Super Cup should they fail to win the trophy. So, the Malabarians will play more freely in the qualifying round of the tournament. Mohammedan FC also endured a difficult time firing two managers in the past campaign ending as low as eighth with just 26 points gathered from 22 matches. The Black Panthers will try to recover their status again by triumphing in the qualifying round to move into the group stages. They won 2-0 in the previous meeting against Gokulam as well.           


TRAU vs Aizawl FC

TRAU had their best season in the I-League since entering the competition in 2019 by finishing fourth in the 2022/23 season. The second side from Imphal, Manipur taking part in the qualifying round will hope to enter the group stages to build on their progress. However, they had to beat their rivals Aizawl FC in the northeast derby to stand a chance. The Mizoram based club ended in seventh this season, two places better than last year, but failed to win any of their last seven games in the I-League. They hope this clash will see the reversal of fortunes although TRAU have lost only once in this meeting in a competition involving I-league also staying unbeaten in the last four.    

Real Kashmir vs Churchill Brothers 

The last qualifying game of the second round will involve North India’s Real Kashmir taking on one of the behemoths of Goan football, Churchill Brothers. They finished fifth and sixth respectively in the I-League table. Real Kashmir started the season strongly winning four of their first five games but then inconsistency set in. Still, they managed to end the season strongly in the last eight matches, losing none in that period. They failed to beat Churchill Brothers in the two games, suffering a 3-0 defeat in the first one before a goalless draw in January this year. Mateus Costa’s side will try to maintain that unbeaten record in this meeting when they take to the field again in a different competition this time.

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