Goals from Jerry and Mauricio guide Odisha to a 2-0 win over Chennaiyin
Odisha bounced back from their AFC Cup defeat as they beat Chennaiyin 2-0 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday to kickstart their 2023-24 ISL season. Jerry Mawia and Diego Mauricio were the goalscorers for the hosts in an otherwise evenly poised encounter.
Odisha coach Sergio Lobera fielded his side in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Amrinder Singh donning the gloves and the armband. Amey Ranawade and Jerry Lalrinzuala played as the full-backs with Carlos Delgado and Mourtada Fall deployed as the central defenders.
Ahmed Jahouh, Lenny Rodrigues, and Puitea had the job of marshalling the midfield with Jerry Mawihmingthanga and Isak Ralte playing behind new signing Roy Krishna who was the lone striker.
Chennaiyin started their new season under Owen Coyle in a 4-4-2 formation with Samik Mitra between the sticks. Ankit Mukherjee, Bikash Yumnam, Lazar Cirkovic, and Aakash Sangwan played as the back four.
Cristian Battocchio, Jiteshwor Singh, Ayush Adhikari, and Rafael Crivellaro dictated terms in the midfield with Crivellaro wearing the captain’s armband as well. Farukh Choudhary and Connor Shields played upfront as the two strikers.
The first chance of the game fell to the hosts when Puitea took a shot from distance in the 10th minute. With Chennaiyin bodies closing him down, the former Mohun Bagan SG midfielder collected a pass from Krishna and aimed for glory but his shot was inches high.
In the 20th minute, the referee blew his whistle to stop the play due to lightning striking the pitch. Chennaiyin started on a strong note after the play resumed with captain Crivellaro getting a shot on target to his name. Shields crossed the ball towards the centre from the right flank but the Brazilian’s shot from close range was thwarted away by Amrinder.
Odisha transitioned swiftly from defense into attack in the 23rd minute when Jahouh passed the ball towards Jerry who laid it towards Krishna. The Fijian international released Isak on the left flank and the latter found himself in a one-on-one situation with the rival goalkeeper. However, his final shot was saved by the Chennaiyin custodian.
Chennaiyin nearly found themselves ahead in the 35th minute when Aakash Sangwan overlapped in the left flank and made a looping cross towards the middle as Shields got away from his marker but was slightly behind while trying to nod the ball in.
Just when it looked like the two teams would go into the tunnel in a deadlock, Jerry Mawia broke the deadlock in the 45th minute. Samik Mitra punched the ball back into play and Amey Ranawade found Jerry inside the box. The latter curled his shot into the far corner with Krishna ducking underneath in a beautiful dummy to leave the goalkeeper blindsided.
In the 51st minute, Jerry was presented with another beautiful chance at the edge of the box by Krishna but Sangwan covered him and blocked his shot before it could be buried into the back of the net.
In the 56th minute, Fall’s headed clearance fell towards Farukh who lobbed it towards Crivellaro at the far end. Neither Sangwan nor Shields was able to get his head to the ball as Amrinder failed to collect the ball.
Diego Mauricio replaced Krishna in the 58th minute and scored a goal with his first touch five minutes later. Capitalizing on a mistimed pass, the Brazilian beat Yumnam with pace and angled his shot past the keeper from a tight angle to roll the ball past the goal line.
Chennaiyin nearly pulled one goal back in the 70th minute when substitute Ninthoinganba Meetei and Crivellaro played a lovely one-two pass in the final to release the former on goal. However, Amrinder came out of his line at the right time to parry the ball away.
Odisha switched flanks quickly in the 73rd minute with Lenny Rodrigues dribbling past Yumnam. He fed a pass towards Isak inside the box but the Mizo midfielder’s shot sailed over the crossbar. Ranawade overlapped forward and unleashed a shot from outside the box a minute later in a counter-attack but Mitra grabbed the ball comfortably.
Substitute Princeton Rebello squeezed his shot past two defenders and aimed for the bottom corner of the Marina Machan goal. However, Mitra palmed it away to safety in the 89th minute. Neither side was able to threaten the goal in the eight minutes of stoppage time as Odisha walked away with three points.
Odisha has another match to play at the Kalinga Stadium as they welcome Mumbai City to the eastern part of the country on Thursday while Chennaiyin will make the trip to Guwahati to face NorthEast United on Friday.