Odisha stuns Hyderabad 3-1 to end the Nizams’ unbeaten run
Odisha didn’t show any signs of leniency in their approach to qualify for the 2022-23 ISL playoffs as they beat second-placed Hyderabad 3-1 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday. Isak Vanlalruatfela broke the deadlock in the first half before Nim Dorjee Tamang equalized for the away side. In the second half, an own goal coupled with Diego Mauricio’s strike sealed the deal for the hosts.
Odisha took the field in a 4-4-2 formation with Amrinder Singh donning the gloves. Shubham Sarangi, Thoiba Singh, Carlos Delgado, and Denechandra Meetei formed the back four. Nandhakumar Sekar, Raynier Fernandes, Saul Crespo, and Isak Vanlalruatfela played as the four midfielders with the duo of Diego Mauricio and Pedro Martin playing as the strikers.
Hyderabad played in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Gurmeet Singh Chahal guarding the sticks. Manoj Mohammed, Nim Dorjee Tamang, Odei Onaindia, and Nikhil Poojari played as the four defenders in the back. Hitesh Sharma and Borja Herrera played as the two holding midfielders while Halicharan Narzary, Joel Chianese, and Mohammad Yasir were the three attacking midfielders. Bartholomew Ogbeche played as the lone striker.
Odisha nearly took the lead in the 3rd minute itself when Tamang miscued his clearance and Mauricio had a shot at goal from close range. But, Gurmeet positioned himself perfectly to collect the ball. Mauricio’s low shot from outside the box hit the woodwork in the 13th minute before going out of play.
Gurmeet was once again called into action in the 23rd minute when Ogbeche fired a shot from close range. His save ensured the scoreline remained nil-nil till the 33rd minute. Isak Vanlalruatfela’s dipping shot from outside the box curled into the net after the Hyderabad custodian failed to palm it away.
Mauricio took a first-time shot in the 40th minute from the edge of the box but Gurmeet positioned himself perfectly to prevent the goal. Having registered no previous shot in the game, Hyderabad equalized in the dying minutes of the first half when Nim Dorjee Tamang headed the ball from a free-kick against the run of play.
Hyderabad started the second half on the ascendancy after Halicharan headed a swinging cross from Yasir in the 47th minute. But, the effort was weak and Amrinder had no trouble in collecting the ball.
Halicharan played a wonderful one-two pass with Joel Chianese in the left flank and the latter fired a shot from close range. But, Amrinder made himself big in the 52nd minute to deny Hyderabad the lead.
Nandakumar Sekar fired a first-time shot from the edge of the box in the 72nd minute towards the far post. Nim Dorjee Tamang got the ball tangled in his legs and deflected it towards his own goal to put Odisha’s noses upfront.
In the second minute of added time, Mauricio muscled past Odei to unleash a shot from close range. However, he failed to put the ball past the reach of Gurmeet. Mauricio finally was able to have the last laugh against Gurmeet when his shot from the right flank towards the far post trickled into the net in the fourth minute of additional time.
Odisha sits in the sixth spot with 27 points from 18 matches after the win. They will square off against NorthEast United and Jamshedpur, the two lowest-positioned teams in the league.
With 36 points from 17 matches, it is all but over for Hyderabad to lift the League Winners’ Shield. Mumbai need only a win from their next three matches to finish atop. The Nizams will next face ATK Mohun Bagan on Tuesday after a brief break and then face up against Jamshedpur in Saturday’s early kick-off.