NorthEast United FC marched into the semi-finals of the Hero Super Cup 2023 after a commanding 6-3 victory over Churchill Brothers, Goa, in their last Group D match at the EMS Corporation Stadium, on Wednesday, April 19.
Colombian striker Wilmar Jordan was the man behind NorthEast United triumph, with four remarkable goals against his name. So far, he has scored six goals in the tournament. In Group D, both NorthEast and Mumbai City FC finished with six points each, but the Guwahati side made the grade by virtue of their better head-to-head record.
In the first semi-final, Jamshedpur FC will play Bengaluru FC on Friday, April 21, 2023. The next day, NorthEast will cross swords with Odisha FC.
The supremacy of NorthEast United was never in question, despite the Goa side having more possession of the ball in the initial stages. Jordan was the Guwahati side’s trump card – his very presence in the forward line created problems for the Churchill defence. Jordan is a skillful striker and to add to it, his physical supremacy and ability to move through his markers made him look more dangerous.
Given the way Jordan operated, he would have ended up scoring at least a hat-trick in the first half itself. Nevertheless, he scored two in the first 45 minutes and added one more within six minutes of the restart to complete his hat-trick.
After surviving three close calls on their goal, Churchill couldn’t hold it anymore beyond the 27th minute. Jordan’s goal was a stunner; goalkeeper Nora Fernandes had no answer to it. Jordan left no warning for anyone and unleashed a long-ranger that crashed against the net at great speed.
In the 43rd minute, came the second goal. Nora had to take the blame for this to some extent as he was hopelessly out of position and Jordan was quick enough to pounce on the opportunity to score his second goal of the day.
The Colombian completed his hat-trick in the 51st minute. The credit for this goal should also be shared with N Tondonba Singh, who left a perfect low cross at the goalmouth for Jordan to do the needful with a deft touch.
With a 3-0 lead, the match, it looked, was already in NorthEast United’s pocket. But there was a dramatic shift, albeit temporarily, with Churchill suddenly coming back to slam in two goals in a span of six minutes.
The Goa side pulled one back in the 54th minute through Kingslee Fernandes and six minutes later, Uruguayan Martin Chaves proved why he was being considered one of the best in the circuit when his measured free-kick sailed over the defensive wall to find the top corner of the net. This goal brought the match back to life, with the sparse crowd looking for a change in the pattern of the encounter.
Jordan, however, had other ideas. In the 70th minute, he carried himself through the two centre backs at great speed and found the target with a low drive, for which Nora had no answer. With a lead of 4-2, NorthEast United looked more aggressive and added one more eight minutes later. Gani Nigam was the marksman after combining well with Jithin MS. In the 83rd minute, Mohammed Irshad headed home Churchill’s third goal, but by that time, the fate of the match was virtually sealed. MS Jithin struck another well into the add-on time to rub more salt into Churchill’s wounds.
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