In match 90 of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL), Odisha FC played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Kerala Blasters FC.
It was a bottom-of-the-table clash. Following the draw, Kerala Blasters leapfrogged SC East Bengal into ninth spot, while Odisha FC stayed rock-bottom in 11th place.
Both teams came into the game on the back of two back-to-back defeats. While Odisha FC failed to register a single win in their last five games, the Blasters managed to win just one of their previous five outings.
The match started as a cagey affair, but Kerala took the upper hand as the game progressed. But Odisha FC scored just before half-time to take the lead and went into the break 1-0 up.
Kerala Blasters continued to dominate proceedings in the initial minutes of the second-half and managed to score the equalizer in the 55th minute through Jordan Murray. The Blasters then took the lead in the 69th minute when Gary Hooper found the back of the net. Five minutes later, Odisha FC's Diego Mauricio scored his second of the game to make it 2-2.
On that note, let us take a look at the four talking points from the game.
#4 Odisha's shaky defence
Odisha FC have been struggling defensively throughout this season. Against Kerala Blasters, the Kalinga Warriors' backline was under pressure and committed a lot of unforced errors.
The centre-back pairing of Steven Taylor and Jacob Tratt were weak in dealing with the Blasters strikers. Odisha FC's persistence to play out from the back made them commit several mistakes, which helped Kerala Blasters' cause.
The lack of defensive stability has been a major concern for Odisha FC, who will want to sort it out before next season.
3 Diego Mauricio - Odisha FC's only silver lining
Diego Mauricio, the former Flamengo striker, has been the only silver lining for Odisha FC in the current campaign. The Brazilian striker has netted nine goals so far this season and is the third-highest goalscorer in the ISL.
Diego Mauricio, who netted a brace against Kerala Blasters, did well to stay calm and finished a lovely chip pass from Jerry to score the game's first goal. Brad Inman turned provider for Diego Mauricio's second goal, with the striker making no mistake from close range.
Odisha FC will hope Diego Mauricio continues his goalscoring spree for the remainder of the season.
#2 Kerala Blasters' first-half misses prove costly
Kerala Blasters had a host of chances in the first-half, but failed to capitalize on any of them. Gary Hooper, Jordan Murray, and Vincente Gomez were guilty of missing several gilt-edged opportunities in the opening 45 minutes.
The Blasters failed to score a goal in the first-half and conceded against the run of play just before half-time. The missed chances came back to haunt Kibu Vicuna's side as they only managed a 2-2 draw with 11th-placed Odisha FC.
Kerala Blasters failed to convert some of their chances in the second-half as well, but found the back of the net twice to pick up a point.
#1 Kerala Blasters continue to leak goals
Kerala Blasters have conceded 29 goals this season, the highest in the ISL. They have struggled at the back due to injuries to several key players. Kibu Vicuna's plan to play Jeakson Singh as a centre-back has also backfired.
Bakary Kone's injury has been a big issue for the Blasters, who don't have a proper replacement in place for the 32-year-old. It remains to be seen if they can sort out their defence for the remainder of the ISL 2020-21 campaign.