Odisha FC registered three wins on a trot for the first time this season as it beat NorthEast United FC 2-1 in the Indian Super League (ISL) here on Friday.
Nandhakumar Sekar scored his fourth goal of the season to put the Juggernauts in front in the 25th minute before substitute Rochharzela scored with his first touch to make it all square in the 60th minute.
Jerry Mawihmingthanga scored Odisha FC’s 99th Hero ISL goal in the 78th minute to lift the Juggernauts up into second place.
The host made just one change to its starting eleven as Pedro Martin dropped to the bench and Diego Mauricio started.
The visitor made four changes with Arindam Bhattacharjya, Tondonba Singh, Mohamed Irshad, and Matt Derbyshire coming in for Mirshad Michu, Gurjinder Kumar, Jon Gaztanaga, and Rochharzela.
Odisha FC got its noses in front in the 25th minute courtesy of Sekar, who got on the scoresheet for the third successive game. Raynier Fernandes slid a through ball into the box for Mauricio, who whipped a low ball across the face of the goal, and Sekar was at the far post to tap it into an empty net.
An equaliser came in the second half when Rochharzela scored just five minutes after coming on. Right-back Joe Zoherliana played a low ball into the box. The ball missed everyone and found its way to Rochharzela, who scored with his first touch at the hour-mark and drew the Highlanders level.
In the 73rd minute, the off-side flag denied Odisha FC a goal. However, a goal did come for the Juggernauts just five minutes after that incident.
Crespo unleashed a shot at goal, which was parried away by the ‘keeper straight to Jerry, who picked his spot and put the host back in front.
The narrow win kept Odisha FC’s 100 per cent record at home intact and helped it leapfrog Hyderabad FC and move into second place, three points behind leader Mumbai City FC with a game in hand. NorthEast United FC remained at the foot of the table, still waiting to get off the mark.
Both the sides will be back in action on December 10. Odisha FC will face FC Goa, while NorthEast United FC will return home to host Chennaiyin FC.