ISL: Odisha FC down Chennaiyin in five-goal thriller

Nandhakumar Sekar
Nandhakumar Sekar is the toast of his teammate after netting the winner for Odisha FC. Photo: ISL

Bhubaneswar: Odisha FC edged Chennaiyin FC 3-2 in a thrilling Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Kalinga Stadium here on Thursday.

A 96th-minute strike by Nandhakumar Sekar goal earned the Juggernauts three points after Chennaiyin FC had equalised in the 94th minute via an Abdenasser El Khayati penalty.

Odisha FC got their noses in front a minute after the half-hour mark, courtesy of an own goal scored by Vafa Hakhamaneshi. Sahil Panwar whipped in a cross from the left flank before Raynier Fernandes tried to head the ball down to Jerry. While attempting an interception, Hakhamaneshi redirected the ball into the back of his net.

Just two minutes into the second half, the Juggernauts were awarded a penalty after Panwar was taken out in the box by Prasanth Karuthadathkuni. Mauricio stepped up to take it and smashed it into the back of the net to end his five-game goal drought. Chennaiyin FC head coach Thomas Brdaric’s protests on the touchline earned him a yellow card.

But his team pulled one back at the hour-mark. Shortly after appeals for a penalty were turned down, Ajith Kumar curled a ball into the box from the right flank before Petar Sliskovic flicked it on with his head and El Khayati slotted in their first goal with a composed finish.

Saul Crespo brought Hakhamaneshi down in the box and the referee pointed to the spot which El Khayati slotted in the equaliser from the spot in injury time. The delight did not last long as Odisha FC retook the lead via Sekar, who pounced on a stray ball that came after Jerry’s run was thwarted in the final third.

The win lifted Odisha FC to third, level on 15 points with Mumbai City FC. Chennaiyin FC stay in seventh spot.

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