Football

Odisha FC 2-1 Mohun Bagan, ISL Semi-Final: Krishna Lifts Juggernauts In First Leg

Roy Krishna turned up to haunt his former team Bhubaneswar. The Fijian, who spent three seasons with the Kolkata outfit, scored the decisive second goal for Odisha FC after Manvir Singh gave the visitors the lead in Bhubaneswar

X/@OdishaFC
Odisha FC rallied to secure a 2-1 victory against Mohun Bagan Super Giant Photo: X/@OdishaFC
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Odisha FC rallied to secure a 2-1 victory against Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the first-leg semifinal of the Indian Super League here on Tuesday, fighting back after conceding a goal as early as in the third minute. (More Football News)

The Juggernauts thus registered their first-ever ISL win over the Mariners after nine attempts, as a game of close margins kicked off amid frenetic circumstances with all three goals being netted in the first half at the Kalinga Stadium.

Manvir Singh handed the Antonio Lopez Habas-coached side an early lead, but Carlos Delgado (11') and Roy Krishna (39') scored once each for Odisha to help the team maintain their unbeaten streak at home this season (13 matches).

The second leg of this last-four clash will be held at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Sunday.

Eventually, both teams brought an end to this tightly contested clash with 10 men on either side, as goal-scorer Delgado and Mohun Bagan striker Armando Sadiku were sent off in the 74th and 67th minutes respectively after picking up a couple of yellow cards each.

Both these teams are renowned for their expansive, free-flowing footballing styles.

However, they were naturally tightly organised in this match, leaving no gaps exposed in their backlines, compelling each other out of their comfort zones and making them look for unique ways to find the back of the net.

Manvir, who has been a dazzling presence on the flank for the Mariners, at 2:21 minutes, netted the second fastest goal in the ISL playoffs, behind Lalrindika Ralte's goal at 2:08 minutes for ATK against Mumbai City FC on December 10, 2016.

The ball was delivered to him from a corner by striker Dimitrios Petratos. He carried a rich vein of form into this match, providing a razor sharp cross that Manvir, positioned at the centre of the box, headed home to break the deadlock.

Odisha FC were not left too far behind though, replying in similar fashion courtesy, the duo of Ahmed Jahouh and Delgado nine minutes later.

The Moroccan was accurate with his corner delivery, and Delgado made his way through a crowded 18-yard box to deposit the ball into the back of the net.

A rather tense back-and-forth passage of play ensued thereafter, before Roy Krishna finally broke through with the winner before the half-time break.

As the Mariners looked to press high from an Odisha FC goal-kick, custodian Amrinder Singh sensed a unique opportunity and put in a long ball straight towards Krishna inside the Bagan half.

Krishna brought the ball down with his head, before sprinting past Hector Yuste and putting the ball beyond Vishal Kaith to become the highest-ever goal-scorer for Odisha in a single ISL season with his 13th strike of the campaign.

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