Kalinga Super Cup semi-final: Odisha FC pip Mumbai City FC to set up summit clash with East Bengal FC
Diego Mauricio's solitary goal led Odisha FC to their second consecutive Kalinga Super Cup final.
Odisha FC edged past Mumbai City FC with a 1-0 scoreline in the second semi-final at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday, securing their spot in the Kalinga Super Cup final for the second consecutive time.
Diego Mauricio's goal from the spot in the 44th minute proved to be the decisive factor on the night.
The match between Odisha FC and Mumbai City FC was an action-packed encounter with both Indian Super League (ISL) sides vying for a spot in the final. The intensity began in the very first minute when Jorge Pereyra Diaz's headed flick narrowly missed the target. In the 5th minute, Odisha FC had their first chance, with their captain Mourtada Fall unable to connect with Ahmed Jahouh's long-directed free kick.
The Kalinga Warriors had another opportunity within three minutes, but Roy Krishna's long-range effort was denied by Phurba Lachenpa. Isaka Ralte also had a chance just outside the box, but his powerful strike missed the target, blazing past the crossbar.
Despite the Islanders continuing to attack, Mumbai City FC couldn't break through. Halfway through the first half, Diaz had a powerful strike denied by Fall, who stood out in the Odisha FC defence.
The breakthrough came with Isak Ralte's defence-splitting through ball for Diego Mauricio, who was brought down by Lachenpa, earning Odisha FC a penalty just before halftime. Mauricio confidently converted the penalty, giving Odisha FC a crucial one-goal lead in the semi-final.
The second half saw Petr Kratky's side eager to extend their lead, creating numerous chances. Sanjeev Stalin's curling effort was denied by Ralte's fingertip save, and Mehtab Singh's looping header hit the crossbar.
In the 90th minute, Odisha FC had a golden opportunity to extend their lead when Isaka Ralte, the 22-year-old winger, received a delightful square pass from Krishna. However, Ralte squandered the chance by blazing his effort over the bar from close range.
Mumbai City FC's hopes of making a comeback were dealt a severe blow as they received three red cards in the 95th minute. Rostyn Griffiths, Diaz, and Gurkirat Singh, who had been substituted some minutes earlier, were all sent off for the Islanders due to their involvement in a heated argument.
The match concluded with a 1-0 scoreline, securing Odisha FC's place in the Kalinga Super Cup final for the second consecutive time. Sergio Lobera's side will face East Bengal FC on January 28 in the final.