Goa and Odisha settle for a draw in an exhibition of missed chances

Both teams missed a flurry of chances

Goa’s unbeaten streak in the 2022-23 Indian Super League season extended to four games, as they played out a 1-1 draw against Odisha in Bhubaneswar’s Kalinga Stadium. Noah Sadaoui scored for the Gaurs, while for the Kalinga Warriors, Diego Mauricio was on target.

Odisha head coach Josep Gambau made a couple of changes to his starting XI after a 2-2 draw against Chennaiyin. Shubham Sarangi and Pedro Martin were handed starts, while Osama Malik and Isaac Vanmalsawma were dropped to the bench.

Similarly, Goa head coach Carlos Pena also made two changes to the team that defeated East Bengal 4-2. New signing Lenny Rodrigues featured from the start alongside Alvaro Vazquez at the expense of Edu Bedia and Devendra Murgaonkar

The Gaurs had exactly the start they would have dreamt of, as Sadaoui’s goal gave them the lead in only the 2nd minute. Vazquez intercepted a pass in the midfield before sliding a through for the Moroccan, who made no mistake in slotting his shot past Odisha’s custodian, Amrinder Singh.

But Gambau’s side could have bounced back almost immediately. In the 6th minute, Isak Vanlalruatfela attempted a shot, and while his effort was blocked, the rebound fell kindly for Martin. However, the Spaniard could not guide his shot on target.

The hosts dominated possession after going down and had another chance just before the half-hour mark. Sahil Panwar’s cross was cleared by a player in orange, but the rebound fell for Isak this time, who found Mauricio with the pass. However, it was not of much use as the Brazilian’s shot was blocked as well.

In the 41st minute, the Kalinga Warriors almost scored the equalizer when the pair of Martin and Isak combined dangerously yet again. The former flicked on a Sarangi throw into the path of the latter, who blazed his shot wide.

However, the continuous attacks eventually paid off as Odisha restored parity in the game only two minutes later. Isak earned his team a freekick after being stopped in his tracks by Brandon Fernandes, and Mauricio did the rest by beating the Goa wall and their goal-keeper, Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, with a fantastic strike.

Following that goal, Goa could have reclaimed the lead in the first half itself. After receiving a pass from Brandon, Sadaoui made a darting run before playing a cross for Vazquez, who could not keep his header on target.

The second half had a frantic start as both teams made it clear they did not arrive in Bhubaneswar for just a draw. It was Odisha’s turn first when in the 52nd minute, Nandhakumar Sekar found Saul Crespo with a cross. The former Ponferradina player kept his header on target, but it was saved by Dheeraj.

Pena’s team then launched a deadly counter-attack with Sadaoui being at the heart of things again. This time, the Moroccan tried to go for a goal himself, but Amrinder pulled off a brilliant save to keep his team in the game.

Nandhakumar Sekar had a good game for the Kalinga Warriors

Nandhakumar Sekar had a good game for the Kalinga Warriors

Goa was handed a big advantage in the 67th minute when Odisha’s full-back, Sahil Panwar received marching orders for his second yellow card offense of the night. 

The Gaurs almost took advantage of the numerical supremacy in the 80th minute when a cross was launched into the box, and while it was cleared away, the rebound fell for Hernan Santana. The new signing had the chance of making an instant impact, but Amrinder denied him by making yet another superb save.

However, that was not the last action of the game. In the 89th minute, we witnessed an action replay of the previous sequence as Santana went for glory yet again, but Amrinder proved his worth by making a sensational stop.

After a flurry of misses, Goa could easily have been made to pay for their errors as Odisha had the last series of attacks in the game. Mauricio almost found him one-on-one with the keeper, but Anwar Ali made a fantastic last-ditch tackle to save the day for his team.

Then in the very last minute, a dangerous corner found Crespo unmarked, but instead of heading it towards the goal, he could only strike his teammate Mauricio with a feeble attempt.

With this win, Goa climbed to the fourth position with 27 points from 17 matches. They will now take on Mumbai City on Saturday while Odisha, who remains seventh with 24 points from 17 games, will face Hyderabad on Friday.