Odisha exacts revenge against Mohun Bagan SG with a 5-2 triumph
Odisha has kept their qualification hopes alive after storming the heavyweights Mohun Bagan Super Giant to avenge their previous defeat with a 5-2 prowess at Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on Monday.
Roy Krishna, Diego Mauricio, Cy Goddard, Aniket Jadhav, and Isak Vanlalruatfela made contributions of one goal each in a five-star performance by the Juggernauts. Despite scoring the opening goal, the Mariners suffered a thumping defeat in front of home fans and bowed out of the 2023-24 AFC Cup competition.
Juan Ferrando was forced to make key changes and try out a different attacking combination as Dimitri Petratos and Manvir Singh were ruled out due to injuries. Glan Martins received a surprising callup to don the central midfield position in the 3-4-3 formation as another stalwart midfielder Anirudh Thapa failed to prove his full fitness.
Odisha made three changes from the starting lineup of their previous AFC Cup clash marking the return of the posterboy Jerry Mawihmingthanga on the wings. Meanwhile, Amey Ranawade also made his awaited return from the break and Narender Gehlot slotted alongside Carlos Delgado in central defense in the absence of Mourtada Fall.
The visitors from the Kalinga clan took the first kick of the match while repping their third yellow and purple kit for the first time this season. MBSG donned their classic Green and Maroon colors attacking from right to left and it took only seconds for them to snatch the ball possession. The Mariners knitted their maiden move within the first minute which could not affect the scoreline but certainly forced the crowd to go blooming.
Despite the constant resilience from the Juggernauts, the Mariners kept the attack mode on in search of an early breakthrough. And they finally got to enjoy the result of diligent efforts when one such attacking move succeeded and eventually brought them into the driving seat in the 17th minute.
Liston Colaco played a vital role by driving the ball from midfield and feeding it to his teammate Asish Rai who proceeded to set it up for the goalscorer. Rai’s diagonal found Hugo Boumous in a perfect goal-scoring position and the Moroccan magician made no mistake in capitalising on the opportunity to break the deadlock.
The Kalinga Warriors switched their strategy from playing on set pieces to focusing on frequent counter-attacks and started making a difference very soon. Gaffer Sergio Lobera’s refreshing approach paid off handsomely when the Fijian striker Roy Krishna picked up the volley and struck the equalizing goal to make the reprisal successful in the 29th minute.
Just a couple of minutes after scoring the opening goal for Odisha, veteran Krishna once again went on to make a goal contribution against his former club. He provided an assist to the Brazilian starlet Diego Mauricio in the 32nd minute through a breakthrough move which was commenced by a clairvoyant free-kick by Ahmed Jahouh.
At this point of the game, Juggernauts managed to control the nerves of the MBSG side and wanted to take total advantage of it before leaving the battlefield for the half-time break. This time it was Cy Goddard who took the reins in the 41st minute and the Anglo-Japanese attacking midfielder graced his name on the scoresheet.
When both combatants returned from the dressing rooms for the second half, MBSG adopted certain precautions in their approach, especially while dealing with a high backline. Ferrando finally took the substitution cards out of his pockets in the form of Anirudh Thapa and Kiyan Nassiri after not seeing any progress in the first 10 minutes.
The visitors’ decision to shift back the gear and protect the two-goal lead for the rest of the play backfired very quickly. After a series of set-pieces in the initial minutes of the second half, the Kolkata Brigade finally managed to find the back of the net to reduce the goal deficit.
Boumous joined forces with the young attacking sensation Nassiri who proved himself to be a Super-Sub and netted the second goal of the night for his club in just seven minutes after arriving on the pitch.
Taking advantage of Odisha’s mystified defensive state, the home team aimed to find yet another breakthrough and also came very close in the 67th minute but Sahal Abdul Samad missed out on it from inches. Lenny Rodruges’ inclusion onto the field was followed by a triple substitution by Lobera in order to strengthen his defense for the final minutes.
The Mariners saw the added stoppage time as the final opportunity to level the scoreline but the neighborhood rivals outclassed them in the death moments as well and went on to score two more goals before the final whistle.
Krishna’s brisky free-kick met with a pitch-perfect finish from the dynamic Maharashtrian forward Aniket Jadhav to take one step closer to the three points. And the final punch at VYBK Arena was struck by another super-sub Isak Vanlalruatfela to consummate the gameplay on a scoreline of 5-2 and make the night even more memorable for the Kalinga Warriors.
Entire Asia heard the roar of the Simlipal Tigers who not only took their revenge but also brought an end to the continental campaign of the Green and Maroons. Mohun Bagan Super Giant dominated the statistics and also had a satisfying performance in attack but the absence of Anwar Ali hurt Ferrando’s side who would now reshift their focus on the ISL.
The Mariners will play their final group game against Maziya, away in Maldives which is going to be a dead-rubber clash as both teams are already out of the qualification race. Meanwhile, Odisha is going to host Bashundhara Kings in yet another do-or-die clash where nothing less than a win will be enough to top Group D.