On a wet night at the GMC Stadium, Bambolim, Odisha FC's long drought finally came to an end. The 4-2 victory over Kerala Blasters FC on Thursday was its first of the latest season at the ISL — it came in its ninth match.
Odisha, however, remains at the bottom of the table, despite taking its tally to five points. A place above is Blasters, which has a point more.
Stuart Baxter's boys played relentless, attacking football to come back strongly after conceding a goal early on. Diego Mauricio was their hero. The 29-year-old striker scored twice and was also responsible for the own goal credited to Blasters midfielder Jeakson Singh.
Though Odisha rattled the Blasters defence at the outset and even won a corner in the third minute, it found itself behind four minutes later. After K.P. Rahul's failed attempt with a header, Jordan Murray scored from an acute angle against a fumbling Odisha goalkeeper, Arshdeep Singh.
Fifteen minutes later, however, Odisha equalised off a swift counter-attack. Jerry Mawihmingthanga's through-ball into the box found Mauricio and went in off a deflection off Jeakson's leg.
Odisha took the lead towards the end of the opening half through Steven Taylor, who did well to convert a well-taken free-kick by Mawihmingthanga. That goal separated the two sides at half-time.
After the break, Odisha began to put the Blasters defence under constant pressure. Mauricio made it 3-1 eight minutes into the second half, thanks to another assist from Mawihmingthanga.
The Brazil star scored another 10 minutes later to seal Odisha's victory. Substitute Gary Hooper's strike, with 11 minutes left, was not enough for Blasters.
THE RESULT: Kerala Blasters FC 2 [Jordan Murray 7', Gary Hooper 79'] lost to Odisha FC 4 [Jeakson Singh 22' (OG), Steven Taylor 42', Diego Mauricio 50', 60'].
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