The reverse fixture for Odisha FC and Chennaiyin FC arrived too soon. Both the sides met on their very last match on 10th January. It was a home game for Chennaiyin FC on papers which ended a goalless draw. The South-Indian outfit overcame their home deficit with a convincing 2-1 win over the last-placed Odisha FC.

Isma: Carrying Chennayin FC to victory

Chennaiyin FC seemed to have control over the match from the first minute with their quick passes. Esmael posed a threat to the goal in the 5th minute but failed to convert it. However, he did not commit any mistake to blast past the opening goal of the match 10 minutes later. Odisha defender Gaurav Bora could not control Rahim Ali’s long ball which fell on the feet of Isma. The Portuguese striker dribbled his way to net his 2nd goal of the Indian Super League.

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Odisha FC conceded two goals on the roll with a penalty in the 21st minute. Gaurav Bora was the centre of attention again as he fouled Aniruddh Thapa on the edge of the box. Isma stepped up and comfortably extended the lead for Chennaiyin FC to Odisha keeper Arshdeep’s dismay. Onwu missed a great opportunity to pull one back in the 37th minute but swung wide of the post, nowhere near the goal. Jerry’s overhead pass was accurate enough but was unfruitful without a shot on target.

Odisha FC midfielder Cole Alexander regulated the ball well throughout the pitch during the match. Substitute Diego Mauricio came up big with his long-range finesse beauty at the back of Chennayin’s net. Kaith could not react to the shot quick which curled up the top corner. The Chennaiyin FC shot-stopper protected the narrow lead saving a last-ditch effort from Daniel Lalhlimpuia in the 85th minute.

The tactical battle: Odisha dominates possession with Cole but lacked attacking intent

Baxter’s men started the fixture with a 4-4-2 formation with Marcelinho and Onwu leading the attack. Diego, Odisha’s only goal scorer in the match, took the pitch for Marcelinho. Csaba Laszlo played an attacking stance with a 4-2-3-1 with Isma being the sole striker. Aniruddh Thapa played an excellent role in the pivot as a holding midfielder creating chances. The youngster won the man of the match award overshadowing the brilliance of Esmael Goncalves.

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Odisha FC had 60% possession on paper against Chennaiyin FC but could register only 9 shots compared to 11 shots of the latter. Both the teams had the same number of shots on target which is two. Shot conversion, as well as shot accuracy, is a talking point of the match. Even though Chennaiyin could not hold on to the ball for most of the match, they managed to pose a threat in the early quarters of the game.

As for Odisha FC, the players missed golden chances like Onwu in the 37th minute. Laszlo’s team gained a major boost as they climb up the ISL table from the eighth position to fifth. On the other hand, Odisha FC is lying low in the last position with six points only. Baxter must worry with Hyderbad FC being their next opponent while Chennayin FC faces SC East Bengal on the next matchday fixtures.