AFC Media Team
KOLKATA: Odisha FC kept their hopes of progressing to the AFC Cup 2023/24 Inter-Zone semi-finals alive after posting a stunning 5-2 victory over Indian rivals Mohun Bagan Super Giant in Group D on Monday, November 27, 2023.
Hugo Boumous gave Mohun Bagan the lead inside 20 minutes of the Matchday Five encounter at Salt Lake Stadium but strikes from Roy Krishna, Diego Mauricio and Cy Goddard saw Odisha go into the interval with a two-goal cushion.
Kiyan Nassiri reduced the deficit just after the hour but stoppage-time goals from Aniket Jadhav and Isak Vanlalruatfela sealed a famous win as Odisha moved within a point of table-toppers Bashundhara Kings of Bangladesh, who they host on Matchday Six on December 11.
Mohun Bagan started the game knowing victory would see them go level on points with Bashundhara and they opened the scoring in the 17th minute.
Liston Colaco began a fine surging run forward from well inside his own half before picking out Asish Rai. His cross from deep flicked off the top of defender Narender Gahlot’s head into the path of Boumous at the back post and he produced some neat footwork before rifling past Amrinder Singh.
The equaliser arrived in the 29th minute from a familiar face when the home defence failed to clear Goddard’s cross from the right and the ball fell kindly for former Mohun Bagan striker Krishna to emphatically volley home from inside the six-yard box.
And the visitors then went in front just two minutes later after Ahmed Jahouh played a lovely free-kick down the right and Krishna this time turned provider, sending a low cross for Mauricio to tap into the back of the net from close range.
Odisha stunned the home support into silence four minutes before half-time when Mauricio’s through ball from deep picked out the advancing Goddard, who cut inside Glan Martins and sent a composed right-foot finish beyond goalkeeper Vishal Kaith to open up a two-goal lead.
The hosts sought a way back into the game after the interval and came close as the hour approached, Colaco’s free-kick from 30 yards hitting the top of Singh’s crossbar on the way over.
But it was game on in the 63rd minute as Mohun Bagan did pull one back when substitute Nassiri rose highest in the middle to head Boumous’ cross from the left into the back of the net.
Sahal Samad clipped the top of the bar with a bouncing effort soon after as the noise reverberated around Salt Lake Stadium with the home supporters sensing an equaliser as their side cranked up the pressure.
One-way traffic ensued and a jinking run through the Odisha defence from Kiyan then gave him another goalscoring opportunity with 15 minutes to play, but this time his powerful effort from inside the box hit the side netting.
The visitors had a chance against the run of play as the game entered its final five minutes but Gahlot at the back post was off target after getting on the end of Jahouh’s dangerous free-kick from the left.
Odisha did then manage to wrap up the win in the 92nd minute after Krishna’s drilled low cross from the right was sent home by substitute Jadhav.
And there was still time for one more goal as another substitute, Vanlalruatfela, raced onto a long pass over the top from Carlos Delgado before lofting the ball over Kaith to round off the scoring and eliminate Mohun Bagan.
Odisha will host Bashundhara on December 11 needing a win to advance to the knockout rounds while Mohun Bagan will travel to the Maldives to take on Maziya Sports & Recreation.