Kerala Blasters and Odisha FC spurn leads before settling for a draw
Match 90 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 witnessed Odisha FC and Kerala Blasters FC play out an entertaining 2-2 draw. Diego Mauricio opened the scoring for Odisha in the first half, but Kerala responded through second-half strikes from Gary Hooper and Jordan Murray. Mauricio though wasn’t done yet and equalised for Odisha in the 74th minute.
- Diego Mauricio gave Odisha the lead towards the end of the first half.
- Two second-half goals by Gary Hooper and Jordan Murray saw Kerala make a strong comeback but Mauricio netted once more for Odisha.
Both sides took time to settle into the game and struggled to stamp their authority on the match early on even though Kerala did enjoy more possession. It took the Blasters 31 minutes to create a noteworthy chance after Sahal Abdul Samad did well to find Gary Hooper in the box from the left. Hooper created a yard of space for himself before smashing his attempt fractions wide of the target.
A few minute later, Odisha’s goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh conceded possession in his own box to Hooper, who squared the ball for Juande only for the Spaniard to blaze his effort over the crossbar. The Blasters started getting in behind Odisha’s defence more frequently as the half wore on, but the final ball was letting them down.
However, it was Odisha that took the lead through Mauricio on the brink of halftime after Jerry Mawihmingthanga chipped the ball over Kerala’s backline to put the Brazilian through on goal. Mauricio did the rest by calmly slotting the ball into the net to make it 1-0 for the Bhubaneswar-based club at the break.
Kerala scored the equaliser seven minutes into the second period when Hooper ran in behind Odisha’s defence and got to a ball that was played forward before the outrushing goalkeeper. Hooper then squared the ball towards the six-yard box for Murray to stretch and thump the ball into the net.
The Blasters were on the front foot after getting back on level terms and could have gone in front in the 65th minute had Rahul KP managed to keep his attempt from a corner on target. Murray then tested Arshdeep from distance shortly after, but the Odisha goalkeeper made an easy save on this occasion.
The southerners eventually took the lead in the 68th minute after Sahal played Hooper in on goal with a smart reverse pass from the edge of the box. Hooper took the ball in his stride before executing a neat finish beyond the goalkeeper to make it 2-1 for Kerala Blasters.
The Blasters tried to extend their lead with a couple of Murray attempts in a two-minute span. He first shot on target and then headed a cross on goal but Arshdeep was up to the task on both occasions to make the saves.
His saves were rewarded with an Odisha equaliser in the 74th minute after Jerry and Mauricio combined to good effect again. This time the Indian winger provided a cutback from inside the box for the Brazilian forward to restore parity.
Both sides had their chances to secure maximum points as the match neared its conclusion. Bradden Inman had a golden opportunity in the 89th minute but his shot at goal produced a sensational save from Albino Gomes to deny Odisha. Costa Nhamoinesu also had a good chance for Kerala when a headed flick-on made it to him in the box. Costa guided the flick on towards the goal with his head but Arshdeep managed to get his hands on the ball as the teams eventually settled for a point each.
Hero of the Match – Diego Mauricio
The Brazilian forward was Odisha’s biggest threat on the night and scored another brace to help his side earn a point. Mauricio is the Bhubaneswar-based club’s top-scorer this season and he also created two chances for his teammates.
Other Match Awards:
Club Award – Odisha FC and Kerala Blasters FC
DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Sahal Abdul Samad (Kerala Blasters FC)
Watch the Match Highlights here: