ISL: Odisha keep play-offs hopes alive with win over NEUFC

IMAGE: Odisha FC’s Aridai Suarez (right) vies for possession during a match against NEUFC in Margao on Tuesday. Photograph: ISL/Twitter

Odisha FC rose to fifth place with a 2-0 victory over NorthEast United in their Indian Super League match in Margao on Tuesday.

After the win, Odisha are now just one point less than fourth-placed Mumbai City FC. As for Khalid Jamil’s side, the winless streak extended to five games as they sit at 10th place in the standings. 

 

Daniel Lalhlimpuia (17th minute) gave the Kalinga Warriors an early lead with his first goal of the season. Aridai Suarez (22nd) extended the advantage five minutes later.

Early exchanges saw both sides create half-chances. Suhair Vadakkepeedika provided Lalkhawpuimawia with a decent chance but the forward completely miscued his shot from 12 yards out, to the anger of Jamil on the sideline.

NEUFC were punished moments later after the opening goal was scored by Daniel Lalhlimpuia with a simple tap-in. He was served the ball on a platter by Aridai Suarez who weaved past Provat Lakra on the left flank and found the striker with a precise low cross. 

The provider then became the scorer after adding his team’s second goal on the board. Aridai found space on the left flank, cut inside on his right foot and hit a low shot that escaped Mirshad Michu’s grip much to his dismay. OFC kept their noses ahead as both teams went into the half-time break.

The second half saw the Highlanders push for a goal with Hernan Santana blasting his volley against the crossbar from long range. Post the hour mark, Nandhakumar Sekar, who came on from the bench, had a great chance to score the third but had his shot saved in a one-on-one situation.

Laldanmawia Ralte looked to have reduced the deficit in the late stages of the match but his goal was ruled out for offside by the officials. The fourth official added four minutes for stoppages following which OFC secured all three points and also recorded a morale-boosting clean sheet.

NorthEast United FC face Chennaiyin FC in their next outing in Margao on Saturday while Odisha FC must wait nine days before meeting Hyderabad FC in Vasco.

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