Odisha FC head coach Josep Gombau felt his side deserved more than a point as they played out a 1-1 draw against FC Goa in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneshwar, on Monday,

Noah Sadaoui’s early strike was cancelled out by Diego Mauricio as both sides were level at the break. Odisha FC went down to ten men in the second half as Sahil Panwar received his marching orders. However, despite the numerical disadvantage, the home team defended resolutely for the remainder of a game to see out a draw.

The result means that Odisha FC continue to remain a point behind sixth-placed Bengaluru FC while FC Goa move to fourth. Gombau felt that his side were the better team in the first half and stated it was difficult to get back in the game after the red card to Panwar.

“Disappointed with the result because we did very well, especially in the first half. It’s a game where we should have got more reward (for our efforts). I’m not saying that we deserved to win because in the end, we played 30 minutes with 10 men and FC Goa had a lot of chances. But it’s true that eleven against eleven, in the first half, the game belonged to us. We cannot make a mistake like we did in the first half because if the opposition team beats you and scores a goal, but we gave the ball to them in an easy situation in the first minute and after that you have to chase the game,” Gombau said in the post-match press conference.

“The players played very well. We deserved to score the goal that we scored. In the second half, we had some chances too. With 10 men, it was more difficult. At this moment of the league, what is important is to not lose and we dropped in 1-4-1-4 formation and tried not to concede a goal that would bring FC Goa a lot of reward in trying to qualify for the top six. There are three more games, two at home and one away. If we play with this intensity, we will get more points. We will see where we are at the end of the season,” he added.

Gombau handed a second straight start to Isak Vanlalruatfela, who was impressive once again. Vanlalruatfela supplied a goal and an assist in the previous game against Chennaiyin FC, winning the Hero of the Match award in the previous game.

He drew the foul from which Diego Mauricio scored the free-kick to get Odisha FC back in the game. Gombau feels the young of winger has a lot of potential and stated he can help the team.

“He is doing very well. We liked him a lot at the beginning of the season. He is a young player and he did very well. The moment when he got a chance in the starting eleven, he had a family issue where he had to leave the club for a while,” said Gombau.

“Now, he is back and we are happy to have him back because he is a player that has a lot of potential and can help us. We are happy to have him here.. He is a nice boy. He wants to work hard and wants to learn. I think Odisha FC have a good winger for the coming years,” Gombau added.