Odisha stay alive in top-four race with comeback win over NorthEast

Odisha FC came from behind to emerge 2-1 victors against NorthEast United FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday. The first half of the encounter belonged to the Highlanders, who found their goal through Martin Chaves and looked solid throughout the first 45. With their semi-finals hopes on the line, Josep Gombau’s side were a different proposition in the second half, as they scored twice and climbed to fifth in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 table.

  • Martin Chaves scored his first goal of the season in the 24th minute.
  • Manuel Onwu found the equaliser for Odisha two minutes into the second half. 
  • Martin Guedes scored his second of the season to put Odisha in the lead in the 72nd minute.

The home side had the first crack at goal, with playmaker Martin Guedes flashing his effort just wide in the second minute. After that, however, the visitors seized control of possession without getting anything noteworthy towards goal. The next opportunity also fell Odisha’s way, with Xisco Hernandez hammering a powerful strike that was well saved by Subhasish Roy in the 18th minute.

Despite looking the more likely to concede, the Highlanders took the lead on the 24th-minute mark. Playmaker Federico Gallego played in a quick free-kick behind the Odisha defence, which released Chaves and put him through on goal. The Uruguayan calmly collected the ball and found the clever finish through the legs of Odisha goalkeeper, Arshdeep Singh.

The home side’s reply to going down was good enough and they should have found the equaliser in the 30th minute. Some neat play by Xisco and Manuel Onwu released Marcos Tebar, who had the liberty to pick his target. His attempt, though, was disappointing and was easily parried away by Subhasish.

Both sides had an attempt each in the next 10 minutes, with Andrew Keogh testing Arshdeep and Guedes concerning Subhasish. Pushing for an equaliser just before the break, Odisha had one final attempt, but Shubham Sarangi’s effort was easily collected by Subhasish. Therefore, the half-time score read 1-0 in the visitors’ favour.

Two minutes into the second 45 and Odisha were back in the game. Winger Nandhakumar Sekar swung in a pin-point cross, which was slotted in with delightful ease by striker Manuel Onwu. The goal was the forward’s fourth in Odisha colours and helped the home side gain control as the match headed past the hour mark.

In the 72nd minute, Gombau’s side got the lead they deserved, with Onwu turning provider this time as he headed a set-piece towards Guedes, who did the rest and made it 2-1 to Odisha.

Andrew Keogh, Reagan Singh and Ninthoi each had an attempt in the next 10 minutes for the Highlanders, although none of their attempts really tested Arshdeep. The home side adopted a defensive shape in the final few moments and it paid off, as they earned an important three points to keep their tails in the top-four race.

Hero of the Match – Xisco Hernandez

Despite not scoring or assisting either of Odisha’s goals, the Spaniard constantly threatened the Highlanders. He created one chance, had three shots, and swung in eight corners during the match.

AWARDS

Club Award – Odisha FC

Maruti Suzuki Limitless Player of the Match – Manuel Onwu

DHL Winning Pass of the Match – Manuel Onwu

ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Nim Dorjee

Hero of the Match – Xisco Hernandez

Watch the match highlights here:

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