ISL 2023-24: Odisha FC strike first blow with 2-1 comeback win against Mohun Bagan in semis

April 23, 2024
Odisha FC recovered after conceding an early goal to secure a stunning 2-1 victory against Mohun Bagan Super Giant

Bhubaneswar, April 23 (IANS) Odisha FC recovered after conceding an early goal to secure a stunning 2-1 victory against Mohun Bagan Super Giant (MBSG) in the first leg of their semifinal fixture of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 at the Kalinga Stadium on Tuesday night.

With the come-from-behind victory, the Juggernauts thus secured their first-ever ISL win over the Mariners after nine attempts, as a game of close margins kicked off amidst frenetic circumstances with all three goals being netted in the first half of this match.

Manvir Singh handed the Antonio Lopez Habas-coached side an early lead in the third minute, but Carlos Delgado and Roy Krishna scored once each for Odisha FC to help the team maintain their unbeaten streak at home this season (13 matches) before heading into the second leg of this last-four clash at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday.

Eventually, both teams brought an end to this hotly contested clash with 10 men on either side, as goal-scorer Delgado and Mohun Bagan Super Giant striker Armando Sadiku were sent off in the 74th and 67th minutes of the match after picking up a couple of yellow cards each. Both these teams are renowned for their expansive, free-flowing footballing styles. However, they were naturally tightly organised in this match, leaving no gaps exposed in their backlines, compelling each other out of their comfort zones and making them look for unique ways to find the back of the net.

Manvir Singh has been a dazzling presence on the flank for the Mariners and on Tuesday night he netted the second-fastest goal at 2:21 minutes in the ISL playoffs, behind only Lalrindika Ralte’s goal at 2:08 for ATK against Mumbai City FC on December 10, 2016. The ball was delivered to him from a corner by dynamic striker Dimitrios Petratos. Petratos had assisted both of the goals by the Mohun Bagan Super Giant in their 2-1 win in the title-winning clash against Mumbai City FC earlier this month.

He carried that rich vein of form in this match, providing a razor-sharp cross that Manvir, positioned at the centre in the box, headed home to break the deadlock. Odisha FC were not left too far behind though, replying in a similar fashion courtesy of the duo of Ahmed Jahouh and Delgado nine minutes later. The Moroccan was accurate with his corner delivery, and Delgado made his way through a crowded 18-yard box to deposit the ball into the back of the net.

A rather tense back-and-forth passage of play ensued thereafter before Roy Krishna finally broke through with the winner in the 39th minute of the match. As the Mariners looked to press high from an Odisha FC goal-kick, custodian Amrinder Singh sensed a unique opportunity and put in a long ball straight towards Krishna inside the Mohun Bagan Super Giant half.

Krishna brought the ball down with his head, before sprinting past Hector Yuste and putting the ball beyond Vishal Kaith to become the highest-ever goal-scorer for Odisha FC in a single ISL season with his 13th strike of the campaign.

–IANS

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