East Bengal

‘s previous tilt at

Super Cup

glory six years ago and the current one, a dream dashed and a new one taking shape in red and gold hue,

Carles Cuadrat

has had a strange common link.
Back in 2018, he was assistant to Albert Roca when

Bengaluru FC

subdued East Bengal 4-1 in the final to win the tournament, which came into being as the replacement of

Federation Cup


For Cuadrat, “it was another moment in another time,” but when the Spanish coach will enter the same

Kalinga Stadium

in Bhubaneswar on Sunday, now in charge of the red-and-gold brigade, the stakes will be higher for him.
“East Bengal have been fighting for results for a long time. It’s very important for us to be in another final. We couldn’t win the first one (

Durand Cup

), so it’s our chance to get the result this time around,” Cuadrat said in a press conference at the Kalinga Stadium on Saturday, the eve of the Super Cup final against hosts and defending champions Odisha FC.
The beauty of football is that it often gives the vanquished another chance to stand up and be counted. The arclight will certainly be more on Cuadrat to see if he can help his team get over the line now, following the Durand Cup final loss to Mohun Bagan SG last year.

Cuadrat’s second attempt at helping East Bengal end the long trophy drought – the 2012 edition of Federation Cup was the last major domestic trophy they had won – is also imbued with another interesting plot, involving another Spaniard who will oversee the rival bench.
Sergio Lobera was closely linked to East Bengal before he took Odisha FC as his next port of call and soon transformed the side with a force to be reckoned with.

Cuadrat, however, talked about the rivalry with the fellow Spaniard and how he enjoyed it in his early years as a coach in Indian football.
“When Bengaluru won the cup (in 2018), we had a very competitive team. Then there were also FC Goa – Sergio Lobera was in Goa at that time. Both (Bengaluru and Goa) were dominating different competitions at the time. It’s a happy coincidence that it’s going to happen again with Lobera. He’s building a winning project in Odisha and I hope that at East Bengal we’re building something for the future,” Cuadrat maintained.
Lobera went on to win the Super Cup with FC Goa in 2019 before his move to

Mumbai City FC

“It’s our responsibility to keep the trophy here. That’s the challenge. It’s a big game for everyone at Odisha FC – the players, coaches and supporters,” Lobera said, reflecting on the present.
Winger Mahesh Naorem Singh and defender Lalchungnunga have already joined Cuadrat’s side in Bhubaneswar after India’s Asian Cup campaign got over with a whimper. Both are expected to feature in the final.
East Bengal must be aware of Odisha defender Mourtada Fall’s towering presence in set-pieces and veteran Roy Krishna’s untiring work ethic, but the red-and-gold brigade, which will welcome back influential midfielder Borja Herrera, has shown in this tournament that they are ready for any challenge.
Cleiton Silva is leading East Bengal’s attack topping the scoring chart with 4 goals and the veteran Brazilian will be facing a challenge from Odisha’s Diego Mauricio in the battle for winning the Golden Boot.
“Our mentality is very positive. So, after six months of work, being in different situations we can say the team is growing as a whole unit,” Cuadrat said.
It’s time for him and his East Bengal to walk the talk at the Kalinga Stadium on Sunday.

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