Wasteful Odisha & Mohun Bagan Super Giant play out a 0-0 draw

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Both teams let plenty of chances go begging

In a top-of-the-table clash in matchday 16 of the 2023-24 Indian Super League, first-placed Odisha played out a 0-0 draw against third-placed Mohun Bagan Super Giant at the Kalinga Stadium.

Odisha head coach Sergio Lobera made two changes to the team that drew 1-1 against Goa. Ahmed Jahouh was unavailable as he was serving a one-match suspension, and the Moroccan midfielder was replaced by Lenny Rodrigues. This opened up an overseas slot for Lobera, which was used by replacing Narender Gahlot with Mourtada Fall.

On the other hand, despite his team winning the last game against NorthEast United 4-2, Mohun Bagan Super Giant head coach Antonio Lopez Habas made plenty of changes to his starting XI. 

Anwar Ali, Deepak Tangri, Asish Rai, and Armando Sadiku were handed starts with Dippendu Biswas, Abhishek Suryavanshi, Liston Colaco, and Jason Cummings making way for them.

The game had a brisk start as both teams made their intentions clear. Odisha’s Isak Vanlalruatfela had a chance in the 4th minute while the Mariners’ Sadiku had an opportunity in the next minute but both chances went begging.

The biggest chance of the match came in the 23rd minute when Rai played out a long ball from the deep. Carlos Delgado attempted to clear the danger but made an absolute meal of it, leaving Sadiku through on goal with only Amrinder Singh to beat. The former Levante striker did well to beat the goalkeeper but then delayed pulling the trigger, and when he ultimately did, he blasted his shot over the crossbar.

Just three minutes later, Odisha could have made Sadiku and his team pay for the missed chance. Princeton Rebello found Diego Mauricio in space with a delightful ball, but just like the Albanian had done earlier, the Brazilian slightly delayed his shot and had it deflected away from the target by Subhasish Bose.

Sadiku could easily have sealed three points for the Mariners in the first half itself, as he had another glorious chance in the 34th minute. Receiving the ball at the edge of the box, Sahal did well to thread a pass for the 32-year-old striker, despite being crowded out. Sadiku was once again through on goal with only Amrinder to beat, but this time, his shot struck the trailing leg of the Odisha custodian.

Having ceded momentum, Odisha came back strongly in the dying stages of the first half. Rebello tried his luck in the 44th minute but directed his attempt straight at the Mariners’ goalkeeper Vishal Kaith. Two minutes later, Mauricio put on the afterburners and darted down the right flank of the box after receiving a pass from Isak. He then struck a delightful shot that had beaten Kaith for all his money, but it struck the crossbar and stayed out.

Whatever Habas said to his players at the break had a positive effect, as Mohun Bagan Super Giant came out swinging in the second half. Inside just the first six minutes since resumption, both Dimitri Petratos and Sadiku had chances. However, Amrinder was up to the task on both occasions.

In the 61st minute, a cross floated into the box from the right flank was headed out by an Odisha defender, but the rebound fell to Manvir, who did well to chest it down and then strike a volley, but it was not on target.

Against the run of play, the Kalinga Warriors could easily have taken the lead in the 62nd minute. A long ball played by Amrinder saw Krishna putting in an almighty sprint and beating the Mariners’ Spanish centre-back Hector Yuste with his pace. However, he dragged his shot wide after doing the difficult bit correctly. He had another attempt eight minutes later, but this shot was not on target either.

Ex-Mariner Roy Krishna could not score against his former employers

In the 81st minute, Mohun Bagan Super Giant substitute Cummings tried his luck from the left side of the box, but Amrinder was not to be beaten in this match. That, however, was not the only involvement of the Australian striker in this game.

In the 93rd minute, he struck another shot after receiving a grounded cross from Manvir but had his attempt blocked. Just a minute later, Asish delivered a perfect cross for Cummings, who did equally well to guide his header towards goal. However, Amrinder came up with a brilliant save to safeguard a point for his team.

With this draw, Odisha remains at the top of the table with 32 points from 16 matches. They will now take on East Bengal on Thursday whereas Mohun Bagan Super Giant, who remains third with 30 points from 15 games, will be up against Jamshedpur on Friday.