Kerala Blasters FC suffered a demoralizing 4-2 defeat against the bottom-placed Odisha FC side in the 50th match of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) at the GMC Bambolim Stadium in Goa. The popular Kerala outfit took the lead but Odisha FC came back strongly to register their first win of the season.
The battle between the struggling Kerala Blasters FC and Odisha FC was set to be a close one and the first half definitely turned out to be like that. Kerala Blasters FC took the lead off a set-piece in the 7th minute. Facundo Pererya’s free-kick came from a harmless area but Rahul KP forced a save out of Arshdeep Singh with his header. Unfortunately for Odisha FC, Arshdeep pushed it back into play and this allowed Jordan Murray to come up with a terrific finish from an acute angle.
Odisha FC replied strongly and even had two close penalty appeals waved off. The pressure finally paid off for the Kalinga Warriors. Diego Mauricio’s shot from the right flank took a deflection off Jeakson Singh before rolling into the back of the net. Kerala Blasters FC did come back into the game with the likes of Rahul KP, Jordan Murray, and Abdul Hakku getting decent chances to regain the lead.
The cooling break saw another momentum shift. Albino Gomes had to come up with a spectacular save after Diego Mauricio got behind the Kerala Blasters FC backline. Soon, Odisha FC took the lead in the 42nd minute as Jerry’s inch-perfect free-kick found the unmarked Steven Taylor at the far post. The skipper duly scored the goal from close range.
An injury to Nishu Kumar towards the end of the first half destabilized Kerala Blasters FC as they let the opponents run riot in the second half. Diego Mauricio made a pass to release Jerry into acres of space but the winger struck it right into the stands. That big miss didn’t prove costly as Mauricio himself pummeled the ball past a helpless Albino Gomes in the 50th minute. The chance came his way after Jerry chipped a pass into his path to open up Kerala Blasters FC’s defense.
The scoreline then became 4-1 when Mauricio re-created David Williams’ goal against Bengaluru FC earlier in the season. The 29-year-old got the ball near the right flank and cut in past a couple of opposition defenders before slotting it inside the far post.
Kerala Blasters FC pushed for their second goal and they eventually got it through substitute Gary Hooper. Jordan Murray’s cross found Hooper inside the box but it needed a deflection off Steven Taylor for the ball to go in. The trailing Blasters side had 11 minutes and some more stoppage time to launch a stunning comeback.
However, some below-par finishing combined with bad luck meant that Kerala Blasters FC went down by a 2-4 margin.
ISL 2020-21, KBFC vs OFC: Who was the Hero of the Match
Flamengo youth academy product Diego Mauricio scored a brace for the second time in this season but this time it led to an Odisha FC victory. Mauricio was named the ‘Hero of the Match’ for his stunning performance.
There were a lot of good performers from the Odisha FC side but Mauricio stood out for his clinical finishing. He kept troubling Kerala Blasters FC throughout the match with Albino Gomes forced to make some unbelievable saves. With Mauricio playing as a part of a front-two, his partner Daniel Lalhlimpuia also impressed with some good link-up play.Published 08 Jan 2021, 00:35 IST