Durand Cup 2022: Odisha FC blank Kerala Blasters FC; Bengaluru FC ease past Indian Air Force

Odisha FC and Bengaluru FC made it two wins out of two in the Durand Cup as they recorded solid wins over Kerala Blasters FC and Indian Air Force FT on Tuesday to strengthen bid for a place in the quarter-finals.

Odisha FC picked up from they had left of against NorthEast United FC as their dominant display against Kerala Blasters FC ensured a 2-0 victory at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Tuesday.

Two fine strikes from Isaac Vanmalsawma (52’) and new signing Saul Crespo (74’) broke open the Tuskers’ defence to hand them a secure victory as they remained at the top of the points table.

The game remained static in the opening minutes of the game, with neither team dominating the play, keeping their respective side defensively compact.

Odisha FC started to find pockets of spaces through the Blasters’ midfield and Jerry Mawihmingthanga curled one in from his left-foot but his shot lacked power and landed in the keeper Sachin Suresh’s hands.

With constant troubles being handed to the Tomas Tchorz’s side, Odisha FC continued to find their way through in the final third but the Blasters were resolute and kept composure off the ball.

In the 23rd minute, Isaac received a ball inside the box from Nandakumar Sekar and took a shot but the midfielder failed to hit the target in what was the side’s first big chance of the game.

The Juggernauts continued to threaten the Blasters’ defence, through Jerry again who found Nandakumar Sekar open and unmarked on the left, but the latter’s header was effectively denied by Suresh who made clever use of his legs to keep the score level.

Diego Mauricio, who got subbed on for Pedro Martin, became the key differentiator for Odisha FC as he helped his side find the opener of the game six minutes into the second half.

The striker ran down the right after getting past a defender and found Isaac in the box with a cutback as the midfielder made no mistake in slotting it home to put his side through.

The chances kept coming for Josep Gombau’s men as Saul Crespo managed to put a line breaking pass to Mauricio who was through on goal but his shot was clamped down by Tejas who managed to make a block well within time.

Minutes later, Odisha FC opened the floodgates for another goal after a sloppy defensive clearance by the Blasters led to Saul Crespo capitalising on the ball and comfortably finding the back of the net from a tap-in.

A brilliant one-two between Akshunna Tyagi and Diego Mauricio gave the Blasters a scare for a third goal but Sachin Suresh had nerves of steel as he made himself big to save the Brazilian’s shot.

The Kalinga Warriors were inches away from getting the third one of the day as Tyagi’s shot hit the crossbar from a decent position.

Josep Gombau’s men will clash against Sudeva Delhi FC a week later while the Blasters will take their guard against NorthEast United FC on Sunday.

Blues cruise against Indian Air Force

Sunil Chhetri and Roy Krishna found themselves on the scoresheet again as Bengaluru FC recorded a commanding 4-0 win over Indian Air Force FT at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Tuesday.

Faisal Ali and Sivasakthi were the other scorers on the day as the Blues enjoyed a great day at the office.

Krishna and Chhetri showed signs of an understanding straight away in the game as the two combined to carve out an opening just five minutes into the game, but the final pass just evaded the BFC captain.

Another new signing Aleksander Jovanovic though provided an inch-perfect diagonal ball to Krishna who controlled it beautifully, escaped his marker and scored past the Indian Air Force goalkeeper to give Bengaluru FC the lead in the 8th minute.

Bengaluru FC had Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to thank to keep the scores level as he made a fine save from Aqib in the 21st minute. Two minutes later, Chhetri squeezed in a cross from Prabir Das to make it 2-0 in Bengaluru FC’s favour.

The Blues had no problems preserving the lead going into the interval,

Simon Grayson freshened up the team early on in the second half and Ali who came on from Krishna made an instant impact as he scored Bengaluru FC’s third goal after he was fed by Udanta Singh in the 68th minute.

Sivasakthi then rounded off a fine evening for the Blues by adding a fourth goal in stoppage time after a brilliant through ball from Suresh Singh Wangjam.

Grayson’s side will now get a week long break before returning to the field against fellow Hero ISL side FC Goa next Tuesday.

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