Odisha FC made the beautiful game of football spellbinding to watch moving in top gear almost right from the start of the Indian Super League match at Mumbai City FC's home ground in Andheri.
Chagrined by the 1-2 defeats against Jamshedpur FC and NorthEast United FC - both away matches, Odisha FC seemed determined to demonstrate the quality it has in its ranks and won its first match, 4-2.
Its coach Josep Gombau was categorical in saying on the eve of its third away match that he would not let any excuse to hide behind the reverse in the first two matches. He said his team was capable of giving a good account against Mumbai City and look to a better result.
The former Barcelona Youth team coach, Gombau, was thrilled to bits at the bench seeing Xisco Hernandez from inside the box execute an angular left footer to defeat Amrinder Singh under the bar for the first time this season. A throw-in from Aridane Santana began the collective and individual brilliance of Odisha in the sixth minute.
The home team pressed hard and created chances, but in the 21st minute it was the splendid work of Shubham Sarangi and Jerry Mawhmingthanga that offered a clear chance for Santana just outside the top of the box to send a pile driver past Amrinder for the second time.
Four minutes before half time Jerry Mawhmingthanga made the most of a chance that presented itself when Amrinder just managed to get his finger tips to repel a shot from Nandhakumar Sekar.
Jorge Costa’s team was outplayed in the first half; Gabonese Kevyn Serge actually had the best chance to convert after a pass on the left from Diego Carlos. There was nothing more to shout about for the Mumbai side.
A penalty conversion by Tunisian Mohamed Larbi helped the local team reduce the margin soon after the break, but Santana’s header in the 73rd minute just about mirrored Odisha’s excellent display in what was supposed to a tough away encounter.
After a blank from the first two matches, Odisha picked up three full points, but not before its goalkeeper Francisco Dorronsoro made a weak attempt in the closing seconds of injury time to make it 4-2, with the goal being credited to the home team midfielder Bipin Singh.
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