Odisha FC clinched their first victory of Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 as they beat Kerala Blasters 4-2 at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim. However, the Kalinga Warriors still remain at the bottom of the table with just 5 points from 9 matches.
Jordan Murray opened the floodgates by scoring for Kerala Blasters in the 7th minute. But, Jeakson Singh nullified the advantage fifteen minutes later after his deflection resulted in an own goal.
In the 42nd minute, Steven Taylor gave Odisha FC the lead as the teams headed into the half-time break. Diego Mauricio followed it up with a brace by scoring in the 50th and 60th minutes to extend the margin.
Gary Hooper did pull one goal back in the 79th minute. But, Kerala Blasters failed to draw inspiration from it and the game ended in Odisha FC's favor.
Here are 4 things we learned from the match.
#4 Kerala Blasters fumble in the final third
Kerala Blasters scored two past Odisha FC but it wasn't a fair reflection of their attacking strength. They should have scored more goals, given the opportunities presented to them.
Odisha FC's defense looked poor on a couple of occasions, with Kerala Blasters targeting center-back Gaurav Bora. However, miscommunications amongst their own players led them to concede possession.
In the additional minute of the second half, Rohit Kumar could have pulled one back for Kerala Blasters. However, his header from a point-blank range hit the woodwork.
#3 Arshdeep Singh produces fabulous saves to keep Odisha FC in contention
Kerala Blasters had 10 shots on target in the match, but Arshdeep Singh's saves ensured Odisha FC conceded only two goals.
In the 23rd minute, he kept out Vicente Gomez's header. And, three minutes later, Arshdeep followed it up with a critical save to deny a wicked deflection off Gaurav Bora.
In the 63rd minute, he denied Facundo Pereyra's long-range effort. He also managed to clear the lines when Kerala Blasters tried to counter-attack by lobbing long balls.
#2 Kerala Blasters' defensive frailties continue
Kerala Blasters' coach Kibu Vicuna brought Abdul Hakku back to replace Costa Nhamoinesu in the heart of the defense. Unlike his heroic performance against Hyderabad FC, he was directly responsible for conceding the first goal.
Diego Mauricio sauntered past him in the right flank before unleashing a low shot, which took an unlucky deflection from Jeakson Singh. In the 42nd minute, Odisha FC's center-back Steven Taylor forayed forward for a free-kick. Kerala Blasters left him unmarked and he pushed the ball into the back of the net.
The rest of the two goals were a consequence of Diego Mauricio's individual abilities. However, the defenders of Kerala Blasters should have closed him down to avoid giving him space to exploit.
#1 Diego Mauricio's powerful strikes take Odisha FC to their first win
Diego Mauricio should have got the first hat-trick in this season of ISL, but the match official overturned his goal as an own goal at half-time. The Brazilian received the 'Hero of the Match' award for his venomous strikes.
In the 50th minute, Mauricio collected a pass from Jerry Mawihmingthanga in the right flank and smashed the ball home with his second touch. Ten minutes later, he dropped to the left flank to accept a pass from Nandhakumar Sekar. Mauricio cut past Prasanth Karuthadathkuni to release a curling shot from the outside of the box.
Diego Mauricio now has five goals to his name from nine matches. With Odisha FC's other foreign striker Manuel Onwu yet to score a goal, fans will be expecting him to solve their scoring woes.Published 07 Jan 2021, 23:25 IST