ISL: Pedro's late strike helps Odisha edge Kerala Blasters

Pedro Martin
Pedro Martin exults after netting the winner. Photo: ISL

Bhubaneswar: Odisha FC secured a 2-1 comeback win over Kerala Blasters in an Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Kalinga Stadium here on Sunday.

Harmanjot Khabra scored in the 35th minute before Jerry Mawihmingthanga equalised in the 54th and substitute Pedro Martin won it for the Juggernauts in the 86th.

Odisha made one change to the side that lost to Mumbai City FC. Thoiba Singh replaced Raynier Fernandes in the midfield as they retained their 4-3-3 formation with Diego Mauricio up top. Blasters fielded the same eleven that lost to ATK Mohun Bagan as Ivan Kaliuzhnyi retained his place up front alongside Dimitrios Diamantakos.

The ball was in the Blasters' net after seven minutes, but the goal was disallowed. Mauricio cut in from the left flank before getting his shot away from an extremely acute angle. The effort was parried by Prabhsukhan Gill before it reached Isaac Chhakchhuak.

The midfielder’s goal-bound shot was blocked by Gill before Jerry tried to tap it in from close range. The goal was disallowed because Gill had a glove on the ball when Jerry toe-poked it into the net.

Halfway through the first half, Blasters scurried to clear an Odisha corner. The ball found its way to Thoiba, whose shot from the edge of the box forced a brilliant save out of the Blasters shot-stopper.

Harmanjot Khabra
Harmanjot Khabra, second right, celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal. Photo: ISL

The visitors got their noses in front 10 minutes before half-time. Adrian Luna played a short corner to Lalthathanga Khawlhring before whipping a brilliant in-swinging ball from the left flank. Khabra sprung the offside trap and broke the deadlock with a thumping header

Two minutes into the second half, Jerry’s cross from the right wing was poked at goal by Mauricio. However, Gil was positioned well and pushed the effort onto the post before it was cleared to safety.

It was all square in the 54th minute when Shubham Sarangi’s long throw from the right was flicked on by Osama Malik in a chaotic penalty area before Carlos Delgado’s shot was parried into the path of Jerry and the 25-year-old made no mistake tapping it in from close range.

A minute from the hour mark, Luna’s in-swinging ball from the corner caught the Odisha defence off-guard. Amrinder Singh, at full stretch, could not get a glove on it and was relieved to see the ball hit the far post and roll out for a goal kick.

The game turned on its head in the 86th minute. Amrinder lofted the ball towards the final third, where substitute Pedro took it down with a deft touch before smashing it past Gil with aplomb to give Odisha their second win over Blasters.

The Juggernauts are now third in the table with six points, just a point off the top. They will host Bengaluru FC on Thursday.

Blasters are now ninth with just three points and will head back home to play Mumbai City on Friday.

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