Odisha FC snatched a dramatic late winner against Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. A 96th-minute goal from Nandhakumar Sekar clinched a 3-2 win for the hosts after Nasser El Khayati had equalised in the 94th minute with a penalty.
Josep Gombau made two changes to their starting eleven. Diego Mauricio dropped to the bench as Pedro Martin started his first game of the season. Jerry Mawihmingthanga returned to the starting lineup as well, replacing Isaac Vanmalsawma. Chennaiyin were unchanged from team that beat Jamshedpur FC.
Odisha got their noses in front courtesy an own goal by Vafa Hakhamaneshi. Sahil Panwar whipped in a cross from the left flank for Raynier Fernandes to head the ball down to Jerry. While attempting an interception, Hakhamaneshi redirected the ball into the back of his net.
Chennaiyin made two changes at half-time. El Khayati and Rahim Ali came on to replace Julius Duker and Sajal Bag. Odisha also made a substitution at the break that raised a few eyebrows as Pedro was withdrawn and replaced by Mauricio.
Just two minutes into the second half, Odisha were awarded a penalty after Panwar was taken out in the box by Prasanth Karuthadathkuni. Mauricio stepped up to take it and smashed it into the back of the net to end his five-game goal drought..
But the visitors pulled one back at the hour-mark. Shortly after appeals for a penalty were turned down, Ajith Kumar curled a ball into the box from the right flank, that Petar Sliskovic flicked on for El Khayati to slot home with a composed finish.
Late in the game, Saul Crespo brought Hakhamaneshi down in the box and the referee pointed to the spot which El Khayati slotted in the equaliser from the spot. Chennaiyin's delight did not last long as Odisha FC retook the lead via Sekar, who pounced on a stray ball that came after Jerry's run was thwarted in the final third.
The win lifts Odisha FC from fifth to third, level on 15 points with Mumbai City FC. The Juggernauts will remain at the Kalinga Stadium for their next game against NorthEast United FC on December 2, Friday. Chennaiyin FC stay seventh, sandwiched between the two Kolkata teams. They return to the Marina Arena to host Hyderabad FC on December 3, Saturday.