It was a game the side desperately wanted to win to enhance its slim hopes of making the playoffs, but Kerala Blasters had to settle for a 2-2 draw with Odisha FC at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao on Thursday.

It was the twin strikes from Diego Mauricio that saved the day for Odisha, while Jordan Murray and Gary Hooper were the scorers for Kerala Blasters. The draw saw Kerala Blasters move to the ninth spot on the Indian Super League (ISL 2020-21) table, while Odisha remained at the bottom.

Highlights| ISL 2020-21 highlights: Odisha FC, Kerala Blasters play out 2-2 draw

Kibu Vicuna's boys made their intention clear right from the beginning as they pressed forward and Odisha was forced to defend hard and carefully. Murray, Gary Hooper, Sahal Abdul Samad and K. P. Rahul posed a serious threat and any one of them could have put Blasters ahead. But none did.

Murray got the first of those chances in the ninth minute, but his shot from the edge of the box went above the bar. At the stroke of half-time, much against the run of play, Odisha scored. 

A splendid lob from Jerry Mawihmingthanga found Mauricio, who beat the sloppy defence and goalkeeper Albino Gomes to give Odisha an unexpected lead.

OFC-vs-KBFC-2

Odisha FC striker Diego Mauricio celebrates his opening goal against Kerala Blasters FC in the 2020-21 Indian Super League on Thursday.

 

Blasters, however, came back into the match seven minutes into the second half through Murray's strike, off a splendid pass from Hooper. Sixteen minutes later, it was Hooper's turn to score, after being deftly set up inside the box by Sahal.

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Just when it looked like Kerala Blasters would secure the full points, its hopes were dashed by an unmarked Mauricio, who was assisted by Bradden Inman.

Both teams toiled for a winner, which never came, thanks in no small measure to some fine work by the goalkeepers under the bar on either side of the ground.