Odisha FC got the better of SC East Bengal in match 13 of the Indian Super League (ISL), at Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco, Goa on Tuesday. The scoreline, in the end, read 6-4 in favour of the Bhubaneshwar-based outfit, making it one of the highest-scoring games in the history of the competition.
Daren Sidoel (13’) got the goal-fest underway with a superbly taken volley before Hector Ramirez added two in quick succession (33’, 40’) to power his side into the lead. Javier Hernandez racked up the third goal of his campaign, scoring directly from a corner (45’).
Aridai Suarez converted a free-kick after coming on in the second half (71’), before Thongkhosiem Haokip (80’) got one back for SC East Bengal. Isak Vanlalruatfela beat Suvam Sen in goal (82’) to score a seventh of the night. Daniel Chukwu’s brace (90’, 90+2’) gave his side a slight opening to salvage a point, but Suarez finished with ease in the dying minutes (90+3’) to cap off a commanding performance.
SC East Bengal dominated the early proceedings, as they seemed comfortable on the ball, stringing passes in the midfield, and creating a few half chances. Javier Hernandez led the Odisha FC line as a false nine, and the Spaniard found it tough to get involved in the game early on.
A long throw from Raju Gaikwad in the 13th minute resulted in the first goal of the night, as the clearance from Odisha’s defense found the right foot of Sidoel, who volleyed the ball into the top corner, giving the goalkeeper no chance.
Jerry Mawihmingthanga put it on a plate for Nandhakumar Sekar to equalize in the 23rd minute, who was arriving on the far post, but his left-footed shot crept wide of the post.
Parity was restored in the 33rd minute when Javier Hernandez delivered a brilliant ball into the far post from a deep free-kick, which was met by Hector Ramirez who smartly evaded his marker and headed it across goal.
SC East Bengal failed to learn from their mistakes, as Hector Ramirez held off Raju Gaikwad in the box yet again, to find himself space and comfortably head Hernandez’s corner into the net in the 40th minute and put Odisha FC in front.
The onslaught continued as Javier Hernandez’s whizzing corner was misjudged by Sen, who saw it sail over him as the ball hit the side netting, giving Odisha FC a 3-1 lead at the half-time break.
Both sides added fresh legs in the initial stages of the second half, and one of the Odisha FC substitutes, Aridai Suarez, got his name on the scoresheet in the 71st minute, as he scored a cracking free-kick from just outside the box, to make it 4-1.
The side from Kolkata pulled one back in the 80th minute as Haokip headed it past Kamaljit Singh from a Mohammad Rafique cross, which gave his side a glimmer of hope.
Isak Vanlalruatfela ensured Odisha FC’s three-goal lead remained intact, as he received a pass from Isaac Chhakchhuak at the edge of the box, and unleashed an absolute bullet to beat Sen in goal in the 82nd minute.
There was immense drama in the dying stages of the game as SC East Bengal’s Daniel Chukwu chested the ball down, and drilled it past the keeper on the near post in the 90th minute to make it 5-3.
Just a few seconds after bagging his first goal in the Hero ISL, Chukwu was presented with a golden opportunity to grab his second, as Gaurav Bora brought down the striker in the 18-yard area, compelling the referee to point to the penalty spot. The Nigerian confidently converted his penalty in the 92nd minute, to reduce the deficit to just one goal.
A couple of late goals by SC East Bengal meant that the fixture was set up for an enticing finish, but Aridai Suarez crushed any chances of a miraculous comeback for his opposition, as his first time attempt from a Jonathas Cristian backheel rippled the back of the net in the 93rd minute, to put the game to bed and make it 6-4.
Kiko Ramirez’s men would be on cloud nine after registering their second win of the season, as they have moved up to second place in the league table, with six points. SC East Bengal’s underwhelming start continues as the result puts them in 10th place.