Fierce and resilient: Reliving Odisha FC’s spectacular comeback wins
Let's rewind and relish some of Odisha FC's most iconic comeback triumphs in recent times.
In the world of modern football, the true mark of a formidable team lies in its ability to rise from the ashes, even when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges. In recent times, Odisha FC has garnered the moniker of 'Comeback Kings' due to their remarkable prowess in turning the tables and bouncing back from adverse situations.
During the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season, Odisha FC notched up an impressive four comeback victories, matching the feat of the defending ISL League winners Mumbai City FC. This extraordinary resilience paved the way for a historic season for the Kalinga Warriors, securing their first-ever playoff berth and clinching the coveted Super Cup.
Despite a rocky start to the ISL 2023-24 campaign, Odisha FC proved their mettle by living up to their 'Comeback Kings' moniker. A captivating turnaround against Bengaluru FC and a triumph over NorthEast United FC in Matchweek 6 breathed new life into their season.
Their tenacity wasn't confined to domestic shores; Odisha FC showcased their indomitable spirit in their latest AFC Cup away clash against Maziya S&RC, seizing a thrilling victory and fueling hopes for progression to the next round.
Let's rewind and relish some of Odisha FC's most iconic comeback triumphs.
Jamshedpur FC 2-3 Odisha FC (ISL)
The JRD Tata Sports Complex, famously dubbed the Furnace, has long been a formidable battleground for opposing teams. In their inaugural ISL season opener, Odisha FC, led by the newly appointed head coach Josep Gombau, faced the challenging prospect of a visit to Jamshedpur.
The early moments proved tumultuous for Gombau's squad, as they found themselves trailing by two goals within the first ten minutes. Despite narrowing the deficit promptly, Jamshedpur FC seemed destined for victory until a late-game twist altered the narrative. Isaac Vanlalsawma's equaliser and Mauricio's injury-time winner orchestrated a stunning comeback for Odisha FC. This dramatic turn of events marked an ideal commencement for the Kalinga Warriors in the season.
East Bengal FC 2-4 Odisha FC (ISL)
Last season, Odisha FC achieved a notable double over East Bengal FC, triumphing in both encounters despite conceding first. However, their victory in a thrilling six-goal spectacle in Kolkata against the Red & Golds stands out as one of the most memorable moments of the season.
Facing a two-goal deficit at half-time, Odisha FC's fortunes took a dramatic turn in the second half. Head coach Gombau's strategic masterstroke involved making four changes, with Pedro Martin and Jerry Mawihmingthanga among the substitutes. Martin's swift brace upon entering the game was a game-changer, propelling Odisha FC into the lead. Mawihmingthanga further solidified their advantage, and Nandhakumar Sekar sealed the victory in the late stages — an unforgettable triumph that resonated as a win for the ages.
Odisha FC 3-1 NorthEast United FC FC (Super Cup)
Having secured a comeback triumph against Hyderabad FC in their crucial final group stage game, Odisha FC faced a formidable NorthEast United FC side brimming with confidence. The Highlanders, led by former interim head coach Floyd Pinto, entered the contest unbeaten, mirroring Odisha FC's group stage achievement.
Despite a quick two-minute lead for the Highlanders, Odisha FC swiftly countered with a response from Sekar. Odisha FC eventually maintained their composure, gradually asserting control in the second half. Sekar struck again, and Mauricio added a late goal, sealing a vital victory that propelled them to the semi-finals. This triumph paved the way for Odisha FC to clinch the coveted title, as they triumphed over Bengaluru FC in the final, putting an end to their five-year quest for silverware.
Odisha FC 3-2 Bengaluru FC (ISL)
Following a disheartening away defeat to Kerala Blasters FC, where Odisha FC succumbed despite conceding the opening goal, the team aimed to rebound on home turf against Bengaluru FC. This home fixture presented an opportunity for the squad to recover in front of their ardent supporters.
However, during their third ISL home game of the 2023-24 season, Odisha FC faced their first setback as Sunil Chhetri of Bengaluru FC broke the deadlock. The Blues swiftly doubled their lead with a goal from Ryan Williams. Despite this, Odisha FC showcased resilience, levelling the score before halftime and setting the stage for an intriguing second half.
The momentum shifted in Odisha FC's favour after Bengaluru FC received a red card, providing the home team with a numerical advantage. Amid intensified pressure, Amey Ranawade secured the lead for Odisha FC, offering much-needed relief for the home side. Both teams created scoring opportunities, but staunch defending ensured that Odisha FC treated their fans to a noteworthy performance.
Maziya S&RC 2-3 Odisha FC (AFC Cup)
Odisha FC embarked on a journey to the Maldives to face Maziya S&RC in the reverse fixture, following a commanding 6-1 victory against the same opponent in their previous AFC Cup encounter. Desperation fueled their quest for a win, essential to keeping their knockout stage aspirations alive.
The team's confidence took a swift hit as they conceded two goals within the first 30 minutes. Despite creating promising opportunities until halftime, the finishing touch eluded them.
However, true to their resilient nature, the Bhubaneswar-based squad regrouped and launched a fierce comeback. Key signings Mourtada Fall, Ahmed Jahouh, and Roy Krishna, seasoned figures in the dressing room, played pivotal roles in this resurgence. Odisha FC narrowed the deficit through Fall, equalising with a Mauricio strike — both goals originating from set pieces. The decisive moment arrived with a brilliant solo goal from Krishna, injecting a much-needed boost into Sergio Lobera’s side during their continental campaign.
🎥 HIGHLIGHTS |🇲🇻 Maziya Sports & RC 2️⃣-3️⃣ Odisha FC 🇮🇳— #AFCCup (@AFCCup) November 7, 2023
The Juggernauts staged an admirable comeback in this electrifying Group D showdown!
📰 Match Report 🔗 https://t.co/jlWHG4izyu#AFCCup | #MAZvOFC pic.twitter.com/EXaXfd8Syn
Odisha FC's comeback victories are a testament to their unyielding spirit and determination, proving that the beautiful game is as much about heart as it is about skill.