Kerala and Odisha share the spoils after hard-fought draw

Kerala Blasters FC and Odisha FC had to settle for a point each after playing out a goalless draw at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi on Friday. Rahul KP had a good chance to win it late in the game, but Odisha goalkeeper Franscisco Dorronsoro ensured that his side left Kochi with a point.

  • Three players picked up knocks – two from Kerala and one from Odisha – in an injury-marred first half.
  • Kerala had the better chances in the second half but failed to make any of them count.

The opening half an hour of the contest was a bit of a stop-start affair with three players succumbing to injuries that prevented them from continuing. For Kerala, Jairo Rodrigues and Messi Bouli were replaced by Abdul Hakku and Mohammed Rafi respectively, while Odisha brought on Carlos Delgado in place of Aridane Santana.

Kerala did enjoy the better of the limited chances in the first half and felt that they should have had a penalty in the 35th minute when Sahal Abdul Samad, following a brilliant run, seemed to have been tackled unfairly in the box. However, the referee didn’t see anything untoward in the challenge and waved away the claims for a spot kick from the hosts.

The home side’s best chance of the half came in the 44th minute after Rafi’s whipped cross from the right made its way to Rahul in the box. Rahul, though, failed to control his volleyed effort and blazed the ball over the crossbar. The teams went into the half-time break goalless.

Odisha had to wait until the 58th minute for their first real effort on goal. Both their wingers combined for the opportunity as Jerry Mawihmingthanga found Nandhakumar Sekar with a beautiful cross before the latter volleyed into the side-netting.

The home side had two efforts on goal soon after. However, both Raju Gaikwad’s shot from range and Prasanth Karuthadathkuni’s left-footed attempt were off target. Odisha had a shot from distance as well in the 69th minute courtesy Xisco Hernandez but the attempt, too, failed to test the opposition goalkeeper.

Schattorie brought on Bartholomew Ogbeche, who started from the bench, in the 78th minute in an attempt to find the winner. Like the first, Rahul had the best opportunity of the second period after finding himself on the end of a cross from the left. This time, Rahul managed to test the goalkeeper with a shot on target, but Dorronsoro made the save for Odisha much to the disappointment of the home crowd. Kerala continued to push in search of a winner as the clock winded down but Odisha defended well enough to earn a hard-fought draw.

Hero of the Match – Sergio Cidoncha

Sergio Cidoncha put on an all-round performance for Kerala at the center of the park. He had 68 touches of the ball, a passing accuracy of 76% and created one chance. The Spaniard also made two clearances, two blocks, two interceptions and three successful tackles, making him the Hero of the Match.

AWARDS

Club Award – Kerala Blasters FC and Odisha FC

Maruti Suzuki Limitless Player of the Match – Sahal Abdul Samad

DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Bartholomew Ogbeche

ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Rahul KP

Hero of the Match – Sergio Cidoncha

Watch the Match Highlights here:

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