ISL: Odisha FC vs NorthEast United FC- Talking points

Odisha FC came from behind to register a 2-1 win against NorthEast United at the Kalinga Stadium on Friday and stay in the hunt for a playoff spot.


Manuel Onwu (centre) of Odisha FC celebrates the goal with team players during match 82 of the Indian Super League (ISL).

Odisha FC came from behind to register a 2-1 win against NorthEast United at the Kalinga Stadium on Friday. The win sees Josep Gombaus side stay in the hunt for a playoff spot while NorthEast's troubles continue.

Here are three talking points from the game.

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1) Gombau's gamble pays off

The one big talking point ahead of the game was whether the home side could register a win and stay within touching distance of a top-four finish. OFC has blown hot and cold this season, and hosting a side that just changed its manager is never a straight-forward affair.

Odisha started brightly but looked defensively weak. NorthEast took advantage of it by scoring against the run of play to stun the host. Joseph Gombau made an attacking double substitution at halftime, bringing on Jerry Mawhmingthhanga and Daniel Lalhlimpuia, that paid off. Two minutes into the second half, Odisha equalised and both players were involved in almost every attacking move from the home side. Replacing the defenders with attackers and changing formation midway through a game is a risky move but on Friday, it paid off for Gombau.

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2) NorthEast continues to falter

Robert Jarni was sacked following NEUFC's draw with Jamshedpur FC. Khalid Jamil took charge of the team for the first time against Odisha but that did little to change its fortunes. Quite a few passes went astray and the team continues to be opened up with ease at the back. Winger Federico Gallego finally looks to be over his injury and, goals aside, Andy Keogh has done well to make up for Asamoah Gyan's loss. That aside, there aren't many positives for the team to take from this game and its winless run now extends to 12 matches.

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3) Onwu makes his mark

Losing top-scorer Aridane Santana to a long term injury was a huge blow for Odisha. While that left a huge gap up top, Manuel Onwu has filled his boots admirably in recent games. Signed on loan from Bengaluru FC, he has now scored four goals in three matches — becoming the first player to score in three consecutive games in OFC colours.

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