Odisha FC's winless run in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 season extended to seven matches as they shared the spoils with NorthEast United FC in a 2-2 draw. They now sit just above bottom-dwellers SC East Bengal, with two points in their bag.
Odisha FC's head coach Stuart Baxter wasn't content with the final result. However, he was impressed with the improvement in his side's performance when they went up front to attack.
"We were looking threatening to score more goals. I watched the footage afterwards and there was at least one incident where we should have got a penalty. I think the attacking play was better. We got the ball to our forward players a little bit quicker and there was a little bit more control. So, yes, there was an improvement in our attacking play," said the former South Africa national team head coach.
Odisha FC's full-backs Shubham Sarangi and Hendry Antonay looked vulnerable while dealing with crosses from NorthEast United FC players, Ashutosh Mehta and Luis Machado. Benjamin Lambot's header to score the Highlanders' first goal in the 45th minute also came as a result of Mehta's cross from the right flank.
"There were a few half-chances, too many for my liking, that we gave away. Stopping balls from flanks caused us a few problems. For example, it cost us the first goal. So, that is something we need to be careful about," the 67-year-old added.
Cole Alexander is a great acquisition for Indian football: Stuart Baxter
Cole Alexander is no stranger when it comes to playing under Stuart Baxter. The Odisha FC midfielder played under him for the South Africa national team and won the Nedbank Cup in 2017 with SuperSport United. Against NorthEast United FC, Alexander curled a beautiful shot to equalize for Odisha FC in the second half. Praising him, Baxter said:
"Cole's performance in general was great. He is an infectious player and the boys love him. At times, he is a one-man pressing unit. And, he can get from box to box very quickly. It was no surprise that he got to the end of the ball, sidestepped a defender and got a goal. Cole Alexander is a great footballer and is a great acquisition for Indian football."Published 23 Dec 2020, 13:43 IST