ISL 2020-21: Odisha draws with NorthEast United, wait for first win continues

ISL 2020: Odisha FC played out a 2-2 draw with NorthEast United FC in the Indian Super League on Tuesday.

Diego Mauricio

Odisha FC's Diego Mauricio scored his third goal of the season in Tuesday's draw with NorthEast United in the Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21).   -  ISL/Sportzpics

Odisha FC (OFC) and NorthEast United FC (NEUFC) slugged it out back-and-forth in an eventful Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21) contest, which ended 2-2 at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Tuesday.

‘Architects of our downfall’ was how Odisha coach Stuart Baxter referred to his team’s defensive lapses on the eve of the game. On match-day, NEUFC’s Benjamin Lambot and Kwesi Appiah profited from Odisha’s defensive lapses to add to Baxter’s frustrations as the wait for the first win continues.

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Odisha has now conceded four penalties this season and six out of the 11 goals it has conceded have come either side of the water breaks and also in the stoppage time of either half.

But it was Odisha, which took the lead in the 23rd minute through a powerful strike from Diego Maurcio. From a throw in, Maurico received the ball and swiftly turned goal-side and drilled a right-footed shot into the near post corner.

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Odisha was wasteful in possession after the goal and conceded fouls to add to its pressure. Federico Gallego, who returned to the XI after an injury, set up numerous chances from deal-ball situations only for his teammates to fire wide. NorthEast finally drew level from another free-kick in stoppage time when Lambot guided Ashutosh Mehta’s cross into the net.

Benjamin Lambot

NorthEast United FC's captain Benjamin Lambot celebrates scoring against Odisha FC in the Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21) on Tuesday.   -  ISL/Sportzpics

 

With Gallego taken off early in the second period, Odisha established some control in midfield through midfielder Cole Alexander. However, NorthEast went ahead against the run of play in the 65th minute.

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From a counter-attack, Odisha goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh conceded a penalty by clipping the heels of Appiah, who stepped up to put the spot-kick away. Odisha then hit back immediately from another throw in. Alexander picked the ball off the feet of Jerry Mawihminthanga and curled a shot into the bottom right corner.

Cole Alexander

Odisha FC's Cole Alexander exults after scoring the equaliser against NorthEast United FC in the Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21) on Tuesday.   -  ISL/Sportzpics

 

NEUFC defensive midfielder Khassa Camara, who was brought on with 20 minutes left, nearly found the top left corner with a long-range shot.

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NEUFC, which remains winless in four games, pushed for a late winner but Odisha hung on for only its second point of the season.

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