Jonathas' late winner helps Odisha FC see off NorthEast United and return to winning ways

Odisha FC returned to winning ways as they beat NorthEast United 1-0 in a Hero Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Tilak Maidan stadium in Vasco, Goa on Friday.

Brazilian forward Jonathas (81’) scored his first goal of the season to hand the Bhubaneswar side all three points in an evenly contested match.

It was pretty much a tale of two halves with the Highlanders shading the first half while Odisha FC coming good in the second.

Kiko Ramirez’s side started brightly and came closest to opening the scoring in the 17th minute when Aridai Suarez’s free-kick was tipped onto the crossbar by NorthEast United goalkeeper Mirshad Mirchu.

The Highlanders though began causing problems for the Odisha FC rearguard with a more direct style of football using Deshorn Brown as a focal point.

Odisha FC though carried a threat on the counter-attack and almost sneaked into the lead in the 34th minute when Javi Hernandez was played in through on goal but Mirchu was alert to the danger and rushed off his line to collect the ball before the Spaniard.

Six minutes later, Brown showed his strength and skill as he escaped his marker with a clever turn but couldn’t keep his effort on target.

The Highlanders were in again in the 43rd minute as Rochharzela’s run through the heart of the Odisha FC defence was found with a clever through ball but the defender tracked his run to make the tackle. However, Brown latched onto the loose ball and tried to find the back of the net from a tight angle but Kamaljit Singh denied him with a decent save.

The two teams were deadlocked at 0-0 at the break but the Highlanders had looked the more threatening side.

Ramirez brought on Jerry Mawihmingthanga in place of Daniel Lalhlimpuia ahead of the second half and the change helped Odisha FC get their game going.

They almost caught the Highlanders on the break in the 56th minute when Suarez who was played in on the left flank played in a delightful cross for Hernandez who couldn’t keep his header on target despite being unchallenged inside the box.

NorthEast United carved a similar opportunity of their own at the other end six minutes later when Mathias Coureur headed a cross from the left hand side wide from the centre of the box.

But just when it seemed that the two teams would call truce, Odisha FC carved out an opportunity that was converted by Jonathas with a fine header in the 81st minute. The work though for that goal was largely done by Thoiba Singh who delivered a pinpoint cross after making a great run into the space on the left hand side.

NorthEast United couldn’t conjure up a response having fallen behind so late in the game as Odisha FC claimed all three points.

Ramirez’s side jumped to the second spot in the table after the late win while NorthEast United slipped to ninth place after their third loss of the season.

Odisha FC take on Jamshedpur FC in the next match on Tuesday while the Highlanders face Hyderabad FC a day earlier.

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