In an exhilarating encounter at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, FC Goa and Odisha FC fought tooth and nail to earn a point each in their Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 season showdown on Friday.
Roy Krishna netted once for the hosts, before youngster Jay Gupta produced yet another moment of brilliance to help the Gaurs return home with a draw.
The match burst into life early on when Krishna capitalized on a well-placed cross from Amey Ranawade in the 4th minute to give Odisha the lead. However, FC Goa responded with determination, creating several scoring opportunities throughout
the first half.
Noah Sadaoui led the charge for the Gaurs, registering two different attempts on goal in the 9th and 15th minutes, albeit without finding the target. Jay Gupta, too, tried his luck from distance in the 18th minute, but his shot lacked the venom to trouble Odisha FC goalkeeper Amrinder Singh.
As the first half progressed, Manolo Marquez’s boys continued to press forward, with Brandon Fernandes providing dangerous crosses into the box at will. Their persistence finally paid off in the 37th minute, when Jay unleashed a sensational strike from outside the box, leaving Amrinder rooted to the spot as the ball soared into the top corner.
The second half saw both teams pushing for a decisive goal. Goa started strongly, with Odei Onaindia coming close to finding the net from a Brandon free-kick in the 47th minute.
Odisha FC responded with attempts of their own, notably through Amey Ranawade and Carlos Delgado, but the Gaurs’ goalkeeper, Arshdeep Singh, was equal to the task, making crucial saves to keep his team in the game.
As the clock ticked down, both sides exchanged chances in a frantic finale. Isak Vanlalruatfela came agonizingly close to giving the Juggernauts the lead in the 76th minute, only to see his shot cannon off the post and cleared away. In added time, Brandon nearly secured all three points for FC Goa with a curling effort, but Amrinder produced a diving save to deny him, ensuring the match ended in a pulsating 1-1 draw.
The stalemate saw both teams maintain their respective positions on the ISL points table, with Odisha FC maintaining the top spot with 31 points. The Men in Orange, meanwhile, are not far behind, trailing them by just three points with three matches in hand.
Next up for Marquez and co in the league, is an assignment at home against Mohun Bagan Super Giant next Wednesday. The clash will also mark their return to the PJN Stadium in Fatorda for the first time in two months, in what would be their sixth home match of the season.