FC Goa held Odisha FC to a 1-1 draw at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar as the top-of-the-table clash of Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 produced a gripping 1-1 draw with goals in the first half by Roy Krishna and Jay Gupta.

The result ensured that the Juggernauts held on to their top spot in the league table, but head coach Sergio Lobera’s wish to build a six-point gap with the Gaurs didn’t fructify with Manolo Marquez and his men breathing down their neck with 28 points from 12 games – as compared to the 31 of Odisha FC in 15 encounters.

In all fairness, it appeared that Odisha FC would stand tall to Lobera’s expectation, as they began the game on the frontfoot, charged by their dynamic left winger Isak Vanlalruatfela. The industrious attacker barged into the box and showed quick footwork before squaring up a pass in the middle for Krishna. The ball was well dealt with by the FC Goa defence, but Amey Ranawade recovered possession on the right channel of the field and curled in a peach of a delivery for the Fijian forward, who was stationed merely yards away from FC Goa defender Arshdeep Singh.

Krishna has been in red hot form this season, and he brought up his 11 strike of the ISL campaign in sweet style by merely flicking the ball past Arshdeep, leaving the custodian with no chance to put a stop over the shot.

However, time and again, FC Goa has shown that they aren’t a side that will bog down when the scales are tilting against them. Yet again, Gupta rose to the occasion to smash in a screamer of a shot to draw the scores level, and help them secure at least a point from this difficult away encounter.

It all started from a throw-in on the right side, but Brandon Fernandes was quick to spot a slightly disorganised Odisha FC defence on the left flank of the field. He lobbed a ball inside the box, hoping for someone to grab hold of it, but a sloppy clearance led to the ball leading up to Gupta who was sprinting ahead. Wasting no time, the fullback launched a venomous shot that shook Odisha FC goalkeeper Amrinder Singh and hammered the ball into the back of the net. The sense of game awareness he showed to not engage in any further build up and instead backing him to do the honours spoke highly of his individual brilliance, helping him become the point of difference in this fixture again after scoring the winner against Odisha FC back in Fatorda in the earlier match between these two teams this season.

Key Performer of the Match

Jay Gupta (FC Goa)

Gupta made 33 passes in this game and completed 24 of them. He was defensively always in action, making four interceptions and recording a single clearance. However, it was his goal and the breath-taking nature of the same that will be the talk of the town for days to come.

What’s next for both teams?

FC Goa and Odisha FC will play their next match against Mohun Bagan Super Giant on February 14 and February 24 respectively.

Brief Scores

Odisha FC 1 (Roy Krishna 4’) – 1 (Jay Gupta 37’) FC Goa

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