Mohun Bagan Super Giant leaves it late to snatch a point in a 2-2 draw against Odisha

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Armando Sadiku scored a brace for Mohun Bagan Super Giant

Matchday 9 of the 2023-24 Indian Super League started with a bang as Mohun Bagan Super Giant and Odisha played out a 2-2 thriller at Kolkata’s Yuva Bharati Krirangan. Armando Sadiku scored a brace for the Mariners, while for the Kalinga Warriors, both goals were scored by Ahmed Jahouh.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant head coach Juan Ferrando made one change to the team that defeated Hyderabad 2-0 as Armando Sadiku partnered Jason Cummings up top at Hugo Boumous’ expense.

Following the same theme, Odisha coach Sergio Lobera also made one change to his team after a 1-0 win over Jamshedpur as former Mariner Roy Krishna dropped to the bench, with Mauricio taking his place.

The home side dominated position in the initial exchanges and could have had the lead inside just 5 minutes when Liston Colaco played a good pass for Sadiku but the Albanian striker was not on target.

Only two minutes later, Odisha had their first chance when Cy Goddard’s fantastic corner found Carlos Delgado in space. The defender’s header, however, did not trouble Vishal Kaith under the Mariners’ sticks.

The first clear-cut opening fell for Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the 10th minute as a defense-splitting through ball from Kiyan found Sadiku through on goal with only goalkeeper Amrinder Singh to beat, but he blasted his shot into the Kolkata sky.

Ferrando’s men were made to pay for their mistakes as Odisha took the lead in the 31st minute against the run of play. After brilliantly bamboozling his marker with silky footwork, Goddard found Narender Gahlot down the left flank, who delivered a dangerous cross and the ball found Puitea whose header would have been on target had it not struck Subhasish Bose’s arm. 

The referee rightfully awarded a penalty, and Jahouh made no mistake to make it count by sending Kaith in the wrong direction.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant tried to get back in the game after conceding, but Lobera’s team once again struck the killer blow in the third minute of first-half’s additional time, Mauricio darted down the left flank before showing his selflessness, as he laid off a pass for Jahouh and the Moroccan was clinical yet again calmly placing his shot past Kaith.

Like the first half, the hosts looked the brighter of the two teams at the start of the second half. Their first chance of the half came seven minutes after the resumption when Glan Martins found Sadiku in space, but for the third time, the former Levante striker was wasteful.

But he was lucky the fourth time around as the Mariners finally got their first goal in the 58th minute. After receiving a lobbed pass from Hector Yuste, Nassiri delivered a sublime cross from the right flank which was tucked home by Sadiku.

The next few minutes were cagey, as the hosts tried to restore parity while the Kalinga Warriors were determined to restore their two-goal cushion. They had a chance to do so in the 81st minute when Puitea found full-back Amey Ranawade in space down the right flank, but the latter proved why is famous for his defending and not his shooting.

Two minutes later, it was the Mariners’ turn to have a go at the goal. Receiving a pass from Sadiku, substitute Jason Cummings pulled the trigger with plenty of venom and swerve but was unfortunately directed straight at Amrinder.

Odisha could have put the same to bed in the 90th minute when they had the clearest opportunity of the game. Krishna darted down the right flank before playing a pass for Pranjal Bhumij, who was in acres of space with only Kaith to beat. 

Despite that, he struck his shot straight at the Mohun Bagan Super Giant goalkeeper. The rebound also somehow fell at his feet, and while his second attempt was much better, Kaith pulled off a brilliant fingertip save to push the ball onto the woodwork.

Armando Sadiku salvaged a point for the unbeaten MBSG side

It proved to be a very costly miss as the Mariners struck back in the 94th minute. A ball from the deep found Yuste in some space, who brilliantly laid off a headed pass for Sadiku. The striker then showed his experience by subtly placing the ball into the net, past an onrushing Amrinder.

While that was all for on-field actions, some drama still awaited the spectators. Both sets of players were seen dissatisfied after the final whistle, and while tempers flared. MBSG head coach Ferrando and Mauricio seemingly got into an argument leading to both the coach and the striker getting red-carded while some footage has also shown Krishna violently reacting in the face of Ferrando which could prove costly for the Juggernauts.

Mohun Bagan Super Giant is now placed third in the league standings with 16 points in 6 games and will now take on NorthEast United on 15th December, while Odisha, who is fourth with 14 points in 8 matches, will be up against the winless Hyderabad on 17th December.