2022-23 Indian Super League, Regular Season
  • Nandhakumar Sekar (33')

ISL 2022-23: Nandhakumar screamer helps Odisha FC pip Bengaluru FC 1-0

Odisha FC players celebrate after beating Bengaluru FC to go top of the ISL Faheem Hussain/Focus Sports/ISL

Odisha FC picked up their second win in two games at home, as they pipped Bengaluru FC 1-0 to move to the top of the Indian Super League (ISL) with nine points. Nandhakumar Sekar scored a belter in the 33rd minute, and it turned out to be the game's only goal. This was Nandhakumar's second Hero ISL goal and also his second against Bengaluru in the ISL.

Josep Gombau made one change to the side that defeated Kerala Blasters. Raynier Fernandes replaced Isaac Vanmalsawma in the Odisha midfield. Simon Grayson changed the Blues' starting formation for the first time this season. Alan Costa and Javier Hernandez were replaced by Leon Augustine and Roy Krishna as Bengaluru switched to a four-man defence.

The hosts started on the front foot as BFC goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu quickly went down and denied Jerry Mawihmingthanga at the near post after just two minutes. At the other end, Roy Krishna pounced on a long ball but saw his strike fly wide.

Midway through the first half, Bruno Ramires played a sublime through ball to Krishna. The striker was denied by a brave save from a charging Amrinder Singh. Approaching the half-hour mark, Saul Crespo's cross from the right flank was missed by BFC's Aleksandar Jovanovic before Diego Mauricio fired it wide.

Gombau's men opened their account in the 33rd minute with an absolute thunderbolt from Nandhakumar. Sahil Panwar's corner was cleared, but only as far as the winger, who beat Gurpreet with a venomous strike from 26 yards out.

In the 67th minute, Odisha ventured forward with Pedro Martin getting the ball into the box. The striker's scuffed effort eventually landed in the path of Jerry, who was completely unmarked. However, the winger failed to capitalise and fired his shot straight at the keeper.

Defender Alan Costa, who scored a headed goal in BFC's only win of the season so far, came on seven minutes from time to play alongside Krishna. However, the visitors failed to apply the final touch as they finished the game with just two shots on target.