Gutsy Odisha FC Make History In ISL, Set Up Semifinals Against Mohun Bagan

Bhubaneswar: Odisha FC reigned supreme at Fortress Kalinga Stadium once more.


Coming from behind in a high-pressure knockout game, the Juggernauts triumphed 2-1 in extra-time against Kerla Blasters FC on Friday night to stride into the ISL semifinals for the first time. Odisha bettered their effort of making the playoffs last year only to fall at first hurdle.

Odisha will face Mohun Bagan in the first leg at home on April 23, followed by the return leg at Salt Lake Stadium on April 28.

Odisha haven’t loss an ISL game at Kalinga Stadium this season, winning 9 and drawing 3.

Odisha FC dominated most of the first session, with Ahmed Jahouh playing a pivotal role. But the crucial final touch didn’t materialise.

Kerala Blasters showed urgency after change of ends, but the score remained 0-0 till 66 minutes.

Kerala’s Lithuanian forward Fedor Cernych broke the deadlock, thumping the ball to the bottom corner of the net to silence the home crowd.

With just over 20 minutes let in the game, Odisha faced an uphill task to stay in the game.

But to their credit, the Juggernauts pressed with all their might and came close several times. Roy Krishna missed a sitter and had another attempt, off an Isak Ralte cross, cleared off the goalline.

The ever dependable Diego Mauricio proved to be the saviour, knocking the ball into the Kerala goal in the 87th minute to send the game into extra time.

Eight minutes into extra time, Odisha surged ahead with a brilliant team goal. Jahouh sent in a fine ball to the right for Krishna, who turned it towards goalmouth where Ralte rushed in to tap the ball into a yawning goal.

It was Kerala Blasters’ turn to chase the game. They were all over their opponents, and may have made it 2-2 but for Amrinder Singh standing tall under the bar.

His best save was when he dived to palm away a Rahul KP header after 104 minutes.

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