A second-half brace from Roy Krishna helped Odisha FC secure a comeback 2-1 win over Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday.

Dimitrios Diamantakos, the league’s leading goal-scorer, bagged his 10th strike of the season by tapping in a cross by Nihal Sudeesh in the 10th minute of the encounter.

Missing Kwame Peprah, the Greek forward picked from where he had left off in the opening leg of the campaign, demonstrating some ruthless efficiency to slot home his shot.

Odisha FC has been one of the defensively solid sides this year, but the Ivan Vukomanovic-coached team has functioned as a seamlessly creative unit quite often in ISL 2023-24. This offensive endeavour of theirs was another testament of the same, with the two-striker formation coming to the fore nicely and unlocking the Odisha FC backline in style.

However, it was Odisha FC’s game from there on, with each member of their attacking contingent taking formidable shots in drawing the scores level. Lalthathanga Khawlhring, better known as Puitea, tried his luck from outside the 18-yard box in the 20th minute, but Sachin Suresh got his palms to it to keep their lead intact.

The second half belonged to Krishna, who at 36 continues to be one of the most efficient strikers in the competition. In the 53rd minute, Moroccan midfielder Ahmed Jahouh delivered a curling, accurate cross to the Fijian who was stationed merely a few yards away from Sachin. He outmanoeuvred the Kerala Blasters FC defence to put the ball past the goalkeeper.

The Kalinga Warriors had found the breakthrough and began pushing forward, as the opposition’s defence had become slightly disoriented by then. Fullback Amey Ranawade sensed a similar opportunity, sprinting up ahead on the right flank, before sliding in a well-directed pass for Krishna.

The ex-Bengaluru FC striker jumped and nodded the ball in, effectively eliminating the early advantage that Kerala Blasters FC had garnered and thus ensuring that his team didn’t take long to recover from their loss in the Kalinga Super Cup summit clash.

Key Performer of the Match

Roy Krishna (Odisha FC)  

Krishna netted twice, as mentioned above, but it was his impressive willingness to build up play that makes him worthy of walking away with the Player of the Match award tonight. He attempted 37 passes, completed 24 of them, earned three fouls, and created four goal-scoring opportunities, to cap off another impressive outing as Odisha FC continued their terrific form in all competitions.

What’s next for both teams?

Odisha FC and Kerala Blasters FC will face Hyderabad FC and Punjab FC on February 5 and February 12 respectively for their next encounters.

Brief Scores

Odisha FC 2 (Roy Krishna 53’ 57’) – 1 (Dimitrios Diamantakos 11’) Kerala Blasters FC

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