ISL: Odisha moves into top-four with 2-0 win over Mumbai

After a barren first-half, goals from Aridane Santana and Xisco Hernandez were enough for Odisha FC to floor Mumbai City FC on Saturday.

Odisha FC’s third consecutive home win took it into the ISL playoff places as Mumbai City FC slipped down.   -  ISL Media

Odisha FC toppled Mumbai City FC 2-0 to make it three wins out of three at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar on Saturday.

After a barren first-half, goals from Aridane Santana and Xisco Hernandez were enough for Josep Gombau’s men to floor Mumbai City which fell to its second consecutive defeat in the 2019-20 Indian Super League (ISL). The three points have taken Odisha’s tally to 18 points from 12 matches. It sees Odisha surge into the top-four at the expense of Mumbai which is two points adrift.

The game got off to a slow and cautious start with both teams gauging each other. The first chance of the match fell for the visitor in the 14th minute when Amine Chermiti fed Modou Sougou down the right side of the box. But no Mumbai player could turn in his dangerous ball across the box.

Immediately at the other end, Nandhakumar Sekar’s cross found Aridane Santana but the Spaniard’s header went wide. Odisha continued to enjoy possession and threatened from wider areas. A corner in the 19th minute from Xisco sparked pandemonium in the Mumbai box, with Pratik Chaudhuri clearing the ball away after a bit of pinball in the box.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS | Aridane, Xisco strikes give Odisha win over Mumbai

Odisha kept peppering the Mumbai box with crosses and corners, but apart from several half-chances, it could not force an opening. There were a couple of close calls at both ends as the half wound down. Serge Kevyn’s blocked shot fell for Sougou at the edge of the box.

But his snapshot flew just wide in the 44th minute. At the other end, a blocked cross from Xisco fell for Nandhakumar inside the box. He worked some space for himself and pulled the trigger, but the shot was straight at Mumbai custodian Amrinder Singh.

Odisha took a deserved lead three minutes into the second half after brilliant work from Xisco. The Spaniard got past Mato Grgic and found Santana with a cutback from the byline. The striker was left with the simple job of turning it in at the far post.

With confidence surging through, Odisha kept troubling the Mumbai defence and Xisco and Santana both saw shots on goal blocked away by desperate Mumbai defenders. In the 56th minute, Amrinder was forced to keep his side in the game after Santana sent Jerry Mawihmingthanga through on goal. The winger’s shot was brilliantly kept out by the Mumbai custodian.

In the 74th minute, Odisha made its dominance count with a second goal after Santana set up Xisco inside the box after winning a duel with Valpuia. Xisco made no mistake, smashing in a volley to make it 2-0. A crestfallen Mumbai outfit could not muster any sort of comeback as Odisha registered a hat-trick of triumphs at the Kalinga Stadium.

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