Odisha FC scored a final goal to beat Chennaiyin FC 3-2 in a thrilling Indian Super League (ISL) game at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. A 96th-minute goal from Nandhakumar Sekar secured victory for the Juggernauts after Chennaiyin FC scored the equalizer in the 94th minute through a penalty from Abdenasser El Khayati. The home team made two changes to the starting eleven. Diego Mauricio fell to the bench as Pedro Martin started his first match of the season for Odisha FC. Jerry Mawihmingthanga returned to the starting lineup. Chennaiyin FC fielded the same team that won against Jamshedpur FC.
Odisha FC took the lead one minute after the half hour mark through a Vafa Hakhamaneshi own goal.
Sahil Panwar fired in a cross from the left before Raynier Fernandes tried to head the ball to Jerry. On an interception attempt, Hakhamaneshi shot the ball into the back of his own net.
Chennaiyin FC made two changes at half time. El Khayati and Rahim Ali replaced Julius Duker and Sajal Bag.
Odisha FC also made a half-time substitution that raised some eyebrows as Pedro was withdrawn and replaced by Mauricio.
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Just two minutes into the second half, the Juggernauts were awarded a penalty after Panwar was brought down in the penalty area by Prasanth Karuthadathkuni. Mauricio stepped forward to get it and slammed it into the back of the net to end his five-game goal drought.
Chennaiyin FC head coach Thomas Brdaric’s protest on the sidelines earned him a yellow card.
But his team pulled a goal back on the hour mark. Shortly after calls for a penalty kick were rejected, Ajith Kumar curled a ball into the penalty area from the right flank before Petar Sliskovic headed it in and El Khayati hammered in their first goal with a composed finish.
In the 94th minute, Saul Crespo brought down Hakhamaneshi in the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot and El Khayati shot in the equalizer from the spot.
The joy didn’t last long as Odisha FC regained the lead through Sekar, who hit a stray ball that came after Jerry’s run was thwarted in the final third.
The win saw Odisha FC rise from fifth to third place, tied with Mumbai City FC by 15 points.
The Juggernauts will remain at Kalinga Stadium for their next game against NorthEast United FC on December 2.
Chennaiyin FC will return to Marina Arena on December 3 to host Hyderabad FC.
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