Their first Indian Super League (ISL) clash of this season on Sunday may have ended in a goalless draw, but Chennaiyin FC’s encounter with Odisha FC at GMC Stadium on Wednesday was not short of goals. After struggling for goals all season, Csaba Laszlo’s men turned on Odisha, scoring two goals in the first quarter of the game. Portuguese striker Esmael Goncalves opened the scoring in the 15th minute, before bringing Chennaiyin to two by converting a penalty in the 21st minute. However, a screamer from Diego Mauricio in the 64th minute gave Odisha hope, but Chennaiyin held on for a 2-1 victory which lifted them to fifth place.
Goncalves was fortunate enough to put his side in the lead in the fifth minute when he came in behind Odisha’s defense, but with only goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh to beat he blew his chance.
However, he made amends for it ten minutes later with a goal well taken. Gaurav Bora failed to handle a long ball from Rahim Ali and he fell towards Goncalves, who did not make a mistake this time around.
Before Odisha had a chance to react to her delay, Chennaiyin doubled her lead. Bora was at fault again, knocking down Anirudh Thapa in the box. Goncalves stepped in to take the free kick and sent Arshdeep the wrong way.
Chennaiyin defended well after securing a comfortable lead as Odisha struggled to create clear chances. The closest they got in the first half was in the 37th minute when Manuel Onwu found himself with the ball at his feet and on sight on goal, but his shot was wide.
With a few early forays into the Odisha area, Chennaiyin looked like the team were more likely to score. However, Mauricio, who replaced Marcelo Pereira at half-time, had other plans by pulling one out for his team in spectacular fashion with a long-range curler.
Chennaiyin had a great opportunity to regain their lead late when Lallianzuala Chhangte, after an excellent run, squared the ball to replace Thoi Singh. However, the veteran, despite only having the keeper to beat, failed to frame his shot.
Odisha almost took advantage in the 85th minute when Daniel Lalhlimpuia managed to get a shot just outside the box. However, goalkeeper Vishal Kaith had a great dive save.
Odisha put the pressure on in the final minutes but couldn’t find the equalizer.
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