ISL 2020-21
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Odisha FC got the monkey off their backs as they cruised to their first win of the season with a 4-2 victory over the Indian Super League (ISL) Kerala Blasters at the GMC Stadium here on Thursday.

In the seventh minute, Kerala drew first blood through Jordan Murray, but Odisha took the lead in the first half through Jeakson Singh’s own goal in the 22nd and Steven Taylor’s strike late in the half. In the 50th and 60th minutes, Diego Mauricio’s second-half brace then settled the tie in favour of Odisha. Gary Hooper in the 79th minute scored a consolation for Kerala.

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It was Odisha who started better in the third minute, forcing a corner, but Kerala scored the opener a lot against the run of the game. Facundo Pereyra’s freekick on goal was headed by KP Rahul and a diving Arshdeep Singh could only parry it straight into Murray’s path. No mistake was made by the latter from a tight angle.

In a somewhat fortuitous fashion, Odisha struck back 15 minutes later. Jerry Mawihmingthanga found Mauricio on the right and his shot, before trickling past the wrong-footed Albino Gomes, took a heavy deflection off Jeakson.

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Vicente Gomez almost came up with an instant equaliser as he was heading into the cross of Pereyra, but it was at Arshdeep straight. With Taylor taking advantage of some poor defending, Kerala would soon rue the misses to give Odisha the lead just before halftime. At the far post, Jerry’s cross found Taylor unmarked and the English defender slotted in calmly.


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Straight after the restart, Jerry missed a good chance, but Mauricio would soon make sure that his miss went unpunished. First, after Jerry’s lob found him clear on goal, he scored Odisha’s third. He scored a spectacular goal ten minutes later to put the outcome beyond doubt. Nandhakumar Sekhar received the ball from the Brazilian and beat a defender before curling it from outside the box past the keeper.

In the 79th minute, as Gary Hooper netted his second, Kerala would have a glimmer of hope. In order to put the ball in the box, Jordan Murray did well and found Hooper, who slashed at the target. Before going in, his shot took a deflection off Taylor.

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As they launched assault after assault on the Odisha target, the goal inspired the previously-downbeat Kerala players.

When their coach Stuart Baxter celebrated his first win of the season at the final whistle, the Odisha defence, however, stood firm.