Defending champion Mohun Bagan Super Giant erased a deficit of two goals to hold visiting Odisha FC 2-2 in an ISL-10 fixture at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Wednesday.
Ahmed Jahouh scored the goals for Odisha, while Armando Sadiku found the replies for Mohun Bagan SG.
An injury-riddled Mohun Bagan failed to bring up the desired cohesion in its game, thereby letting a better-organised Odisha attack at a greater regularity.
AS IT HAPPENED: MOHUN BAGAN SUPER GIANT VS ODISHA FC HIGHLIGHTS
The visitor found the goal near the half-hour mark when the Mohun Bagan defender Subhasish Bose handled the ball inside his box while trying to block a header from the Odisha midfielder Puitea. Jahouh made no mistake from the spot to put the visitor one up.
The list of injuries grew for the host just before the match as its French play-maker Hugo Boumous was ruled out, forcing coach Juan Ferrando to resort to the reserve bench once more. With four regulars – Ashique Kuruniyan, Anwar Ali, Manvir Singh, and the Australian forward Dimitri Petratos - already sitting out, the unavailability of the Boumous just before the start appeared to be a setback for the host.
Mohun Bagan had more disappointment in stock as it conceded the second goal in the first half injury-time. Jahouh found the net for the second time as he won a ball from the Mohun Bagan midfielder Sahal Abdul Samad, and went on to score himself after his teammate upfront Diego Mauricio set up a nice cross at the Mohun Bagan goalmouth.
Samad, who bore the brunt of Jahouh’s sliding attempt, limped off the ground toward the end of the first half to increase Bagan’s worries. There was more in store for the host as its priced midfielder Anirudh Thapa was replaced just before the break, owing to an injury.
The Mohun Bagan bench came good after the break when the host pulled one back in the 58th minute off Sadiku. The Albanian forward, who made two big misses in the opening half, found his form this time as he flicked home an assist from Kiyan Nassiri to get the host back in the action.
The result could well have gone Odisha FC’s way had not the Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Vishal Kaith shown the right anticipation in blocking two successive attempts – off substitutes Princeton Rebello and Pranjal Bhumij – in the last minute of the regulation time.
Sadiku found the equaliser in injury time (90+4 minutes) to save the host the blushes.
The absorbing action was marred by some post-match controversy as the Mohun Bagan coach Ferrando and the Odisha FC forward Mauricio were shown red cards by the referee, Crystal John, for getting involved in an altercation.
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