Odisha FC put up a stunning show in their opening Group D fixture of the Durand Cup campaign as they netted past six goals against NorthEast United FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, on Wednesday.

Three first half goals by Jerry Mawihmingthanga (14’, 38’), Nandhakumar Sekar (26’), and as many goals in the second half by substitutes Isak Vanlalruatfela (81’), Diego Mauricio (88’), and Thoiba Singh (90+1’)  

Odisha FC got their first taste of action in the third minute through Jerry Mawihmingthanga who found the side-netting from an Isaac Chhakchhuak cross.

Moments later, Pedro Martin had a go at the goal after a Jerry cross took a rebound from the defenders and found Pedro in the box who beat a defender and pulled one in but was denied by the Highlanders’ keeper Nikhil Deka.

After several build-ups and chances, Odisha FC found the back of the net in the 14th minute through their star man Jerry Mawihmingthanga. Isaac recovered possession from a dead ball situation and passed it to Pedro Martin who laid it off to Jerry who smashed it home and made it 1-0 for Gombau’s men.

Minutes later, Nandhakumar Sekar turned the fortunes around for Odisha FC as he netted the second goal of the game. In what was a stupendous distributed ball from goalkeeper Ralte, it comfortably found the winger on the left who eased past two defenders and curled one in towards the far post to make it 2-0 in the 26th minute.

The Kalinga Warriors kept the Highlanders mum and had a captivating presence in their half with their constant high press and quick passing involved in the attack.

Josep Gombau’s men tripled their lead in the 38th minute after their front three combined beautifully to see off Jerry Mawihmingthanga slotting the ball behind the net assisted by Nandhakumar Sekar and set up by Pedro Martin from the centre of the park.

The second half saw Thoiba Singh and Nikhil Prabhu come on for Isaac and Narender Gahlot respectively.

The Bhubaneswar-based side continued to dominate the field, with NorthEast United FC not able to make the most out of it.

Substitute Isak Vanlalruatfela made an impact on the game as he found the back of the net with a glancing header to beat Nikhil Dekha from a Nandakumar corner to add the fourth one on the scoresheet.

Diego Mauricio burst into action with the fifth goal of the evening after his blazing free-kick beat the keeper and rippled the net in the 88th minute as Thoiba Singh was brought down just outside the box, winning a spot kick for Odisha FC.

Isak comes into the picture again, this time combining with Thoiba Singh with an assist, as the latter finished it in style from inside the box to make it six for the Kalinga Warriors.

Odisha FC face Kerala Blasters FC in their next outing on Tuesday while the Highlanders play Army Green FT on Sunday.

 Ten-man Bengaluru FC see off Jamshedpur FC

Captain Sunil Chhetri and new signing Roy Krishna were on target as ten-man Bengaluru FC beat Jamshedpur FC 2-1 in the Group A encounter in the Durand Cup 2022 at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Wednesday.

The Red Miners who fielded their youth team in the competition were energetic and brave on the ball right from the outset but were undone by goals from Chhetri (23’) and Krishna (56’). Another Blues debutant Hira Mondal though received a red card after two bookable offences reducing Simon Grayson’s side to ten men.

Jamshedpur FC then reduced the deficit with a goal from Rishi (61’) to make a real game of it but the experienced Blues held on for the win.

The Jamshedpur FC youngsters tried to build from the back from the start but Bengaluru FC made it hard for them with their pressing. The Blues had a great chance to take the lead in the 13th minute when Udanta Singh set up Danish Farooq for a shot only to see it blocked. The rebound then fell for Udanta who was denied thanks to some last-ditch defending from Jamshedpur FC.

The Blues broke through in the 23rd minute when Chhetri headed home a cross from Prabir Das – another new signing – who got his first assist in blue.

Bengaluru FC then had a big chance to double their lead just before the break when Suresh Singh Wangjam shot wide from a Leon Augustine cross that Chhetri had allowed to run and reach Suresh.

Aleksander Jovanovic and Krishna came on in the second half and the latter had an instant impact as he combined with Chhetri whose backheel was sent into the net by the Fijian who doubled the lead in the 56th minute.

Mondal then received a red card on the hour mark and it opened the door for a Jamshedpur FC comeback as Rishi pulled a goal back just a minute later.

The Jamshedpur FC goalscorer nearly pulled his team level four minutes from time as he headed a corner goalwards but Gurpreet Singh Sandhu produced a fine save to deny him and hand Bengaluru FC all three points and a winning start in the Durand Cup.

Bengaluru FC next face Indian Air Force FC on Tuesday while Jamshedpur FC take on Mohammedan SC two days earlier.