Odisha talisman Aridane Santana ruled out for the rest of the season
Odisha FC have confirmed that Spanish striker Aridane Santana will be out for the remainder of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 season owing to the injury he had sustained during the team's last outing against Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on January 22.
Having joined Odisha in the summer on loan from Spanish on loan from Segunda Division B – Group 2 outfit Cultural Leonesa and took little time to endear himself to Odisha fans with some fine displays. He scored on his debut in a 2-1 loss to Jamshedpur and went on to score nine goals in 14 matches in the Odisha jersey during his time with the club.
The 32-year-old also has two assists to his name and leaves the campaign, placed joint second in the Hero ISL 2019-20 Golden Boot standings alongside Bengaluru's Sunil Chhetri. Only Chennaiyin's Nerijus Valskis has scored more with 10 goals so far.
More than his goal-scoring exploits, however, Santana has proven himself to be a team player, often dropping deep to help in defence. His selfless performances have also brought the best out of players like Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Xisco Hernandez and Nandhakumar Sekar, playing a pivotal role in Odisha's surge into the top four.
Currently in the fourth spot with 21 points from 14 games, Odisha still have a lot of work to do to secure a coveted semi-final spot and Santana's departure, particularly at this stage of the competition, marks a heavy blow to their top four ambitions.