Odisha FC returned to winning ways by defeating SC East Bengal 2-1 in match 84 of the Indian Super League (ISL 2021-22) at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Monday.
After making a slow start, Odisha, which had remained winless in the previous three matches, converted its territorial advantage into a lead midway in the first half. The goal resulted from a fine effort from the Spanish midfielder Javi Hernandez, who won a tackle near the East Bengal box and moved up to set up a back-centre that was sent home by the Brazilian striker Jonathas.
The 23rd-minute strike kept Odisha FC in the lead in the opening half as East Bengal struggled to build up attacks from the back and lacked the rhythm in the striking zone that could effectively challenge the opposition defence.
The change of ends altered the situation as East Bengal coach Mario Rivera brought in a few reinforcements to bolster the attack. East Bengal could have found the equaliser in the 49th minute, but Darren Sidoel’s free-kick missed the target from close.
AS IT HAPPENED: SC East Bengal vs Odisha FC Highlights
East Bengal found the equaliser in the 64th minute off an effective counterattack through the centre. East Bengal’s Croatian centre-back Franjo Prce made a nice interception of an Odisha move to assist his compatriot Antonio Perosevic with a long floater. The latter broke free of his markers as he received the pass and finished it with a nicely timed left-footer.
Odisha FC stepped up its game once again in the final quarter of the action and regained the lead in the 75th minute when Hernandez pried open the East Bengal defence once more to find the back of the East Bengal net.
Javi could have got one more in the 82nd minute, but East Bengal defender denied him with a magnificent goal-line clearance.