Photo Credit: ISL Media Twitter (https://twitter.com/IndSuperLeague/status/1333042220178423810/photo/1)
ISL 2020-21 Odisha FC vs Jamshedpur FC: Super sub-Mauricio helps Odisha snatch a point
The Brazilian scored a brace to pull the team out from the jaws of defeat.
Odisha FC played out a 2-2 draw against Jamshedpur FC at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Sunday evening.
A brace each from Valksis and Diego Mauricio meant both the sides would share the spoils in a match of intense drama.
Jamshedpur FC began their proceedings and were on the front foot from the word go, having had two early glances at goal. This was followed by Lithuanian international Nerijus Valksis's header which, unfortunately, went wide off the target. So was the outcome of Shubham Sarangi's attempt at the 8th minute, though the latter was only inches away from the target.
The relentless attacking pursuit from Jamshedpur led to a penalty in the 11th minute, courtesy a handball from Odisha FC defender Gaurav Bora as a result of a shot from Valskis off a rebound from a clearance by the keeper when Stephen Eze headed the ball on target. Valksis shot into the bottom left corner to put his team into the lead.
Odisha FC managed to further double the lead just 15 minutes later when a loose ball from Sarangi was finished first time by Valksis.
Odisha FC Marcelo Pereira's shot from a distance forced Jamshedpur keeper into a save, but the scoreline remained 2-0 in favor of Jamshedpur FC at half time.
Jamshedpur's Alexandre Lima took an attempt from range but shot wide off the target in the 52nd minute after the proceedings resumed post-break. This was responded by Manuel Onwu of Odisha making his way through into a 1v1 situation with the keeper into the box but the forward only shot it wide.
He was again given a chance to test the keeper in the 59th minute when a cross from the left brought the ball onto his feet after he controlled it from his weaker foot which he shot the first time swiveling to his right to force the keeper into a save.
The resulting corner led to a loose ball for Nandhakumar Sekhar in the penalty box but he was unable to capitalize on the ball thanks to Jamshedpur's Rehenesh quick reaction to save the ball.
The Jamshedpur custodian was however only to be sent back to the tunnel when in the 74th minute, he handled the ball outside the box in an effort to deny Odisha an opportunity to score.
The resulting free-kick saw substitute Diego Mauricio hit the crossbar, but he was lucky to latch onto the ball after a scramble on the goalmouth, which he finished sweetly to reduce the deficit.
However, his side had to wait till the injury time despite continuous attempts to finally equalize, when Mauricio created an opportunity to shoot from the edge of the box to beat the keeper.
Odisha FC head coach Stuart Baxter felt this result would kick start their campaign in the league. “Two-nil down at halftime and you are looking to score the next goal and we did, and I thought we played quite well in the second half. So, I’m hoping that getting the 2-2 after being two down is the sort of thing that will give the lads a little bit of a lift. If we can work to put some of the other things right maybe, we’ll kick-start something,” Baxter said in the post-match press conference.
When asked if they could have won the match, he said, “Given the fact that we were 2-0 down and again giving away two cheap goals, you are looking to obviously make some changes in the second half to make sure you score the next goal and I thought the lads did fantastically well. When you play as well as we did and get the two goals back, maybe you look back and say ‘maybe we could have pinched it’ but getting the point after being two goals down, I think that we have to say well done to the lads. I’m hoping that will spark something in the future.”
The coach was impressed by Mauricio, “Diego was on the bench for a reason because he’s been taking a bit of time to settle and when we have been pressing high, he’s been making some poor decisions that has been putting him out of the game so we found it difficult to find him. He’s had a decent week and when he went on, I gave him a very small area of what I want him to do. I got to admit, I thought he was electric when he went on,” Baxter said.
Jamshedpur FC head coach Owen Coyle felt his side could have won the match had they passed and managed the game better, "First half we were absolutely brilliant. Dictated the game, two nothing up. Could have been three or four up, total control of the half and we stressed at halftime that we have to continue to pass the ball and pass it sharply. I think our passing wasn’t as good in the second half as it was in the first and that allowed Odisha to come into the game. They had nothing to lose at two nil down and were throwing men forward. We should have had better game management,” he said.