ISL: Odisha dealt Santana injury blow, loans Onwu as replacement

Odisha FC was dealt with a big blow to its play-off chase as its top-scorer Airdane Santana was ruled out for the rest of the ISL.

Aridane Santana (9) scored nine goals in 14 matches for Odisha FC.   -  ISL MEDIA

Odisha FC was dealt with a big blow to its play-off chase as its top-scorer Airdane Santana was ruled out for the rest of the Indian Super League (ISL) season.

In a bid to offset the loss, Odisha has loaned Spanish forward Manuel Onwu from Bengaluru FC for its remaining matches.

Santana had endeared himself to the Odisha faithful having scored on his debut in a 2-1 loss to Jamshedpur before going on to score nine goals in 14 matches. The Spaniard has failed to recover from an injury to his left foot which he suffered against Bengaluru earlier this month.

The 32-year-old also has two assists to his name and leaves the campaign, placed joint second in the ISL 2019-20 Golden Boot standings alongside Bengaluru's Sunil Chhetri. Only Chennaiyin's Nerijus Valskis has scored more with 10 goals so far.

Onwu will have a task ask in replicating Santana's influence as the loanee failed to open his scoring account in his five matches with the Blues. He has one assist to his name.

Speaking on the new signing, OFC head coach Josep Gombau said, “We are happy to have Manuel Onwu with us. I think that he can fit very well in the style of football that we play. I welcome him on behalf of the team and wish him all the best.”

After joining the club, Onwu said, “I am delighted to join Odisha FC and looking forward to playing under the guidance of coach Gombau. I know that the people here are very passionate for the team and I am hopeful of performing well and would like to contribute to the team’s success.”

Odisha is placed fourth on the table with 21 points from 14 matches.

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