Odisha FC held Mumbai City FC to a 2-2 draw at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar tonight as an emotional encounter for Sergio Lobera against his former club saw some intense action that eventually left little to be separated between the two sides. Teams with largely similar on-field footballing philosophies and styles of play engaged in a tough tussle in one of the most highly-anticipated showdowns from the 10th season of the Indian Super League (ISL).
The two sides were attempting to be in greater control over the proceedings from the offset and that led to an interesting battle in the centre of the park. Greg Stewart stepped up to take a free-kick from the right-hand side just outside the box in the 42nd minute. The away side certainly had held high hopes from the attacking midfielder, who displayed impeccable technique but the ball still landed a few inches wide off the crossbar.
However, the Islanders were unable to capitalise on that momentum. Isak Vanlalruatfela played a cross-field pass that Mumbai’s goalkeeper Mohammed Nawaz mishandled, handing Jerry Mawihmingthanga an open goal to shoot into and hand the home team the lead. Mumbai kept pressing high after the break and earned a corner courtesy of the same soon in the 47th minute. Stewart again assumed set-piece responsibilities and delivered an incredible curling cross that centre-back Rostyn Griffiths headed home to bring Mumbai the much-needed equaliser.
It appeared that the game would round off drawn for a significant phase of the game after that, and so it did but not before both teams added another goal to their tally each. Nawaz fouled Odisha striker Roy Krishna inside the box and the Fijian forward made no mistakes from the spot in the 75th minute.
However, the Islanders’ sturdy resilience and determination was on complete display as they kept pushing hard to restore parity in the final 15 minutes. Vikram Pratap Singh initiated quite a few remarkable moves on either sides of the 18-yard box but finally delivered a decisive lateral pass for Jorge Pereyra Díaz that the Argentine tapped into the net in the 88th minute.
Quite late into the game, both teams eventually arguably resorted to settling for a point each. Whilst they didn’t completely shy away from seeking an injury-time winner, they simultaneously held their backline together long enough to not lose hold of the solitary point from the match.
Key Performer of the Match
Rostyn Griffiths delivered a flawless performance that comprised three tackles, one interception, 89% passing accuracy, along with netting Mumbai’s opening goal of the night.
What’s next for both teams?
Odisha FC will face FC Goa at the Fatorda Stadium on October 7 for their coming ISL fixture whereas Mumbai City FC will host Kerala Blasters FC on October 8.
Odisha FC 2 (Jerry Mawihmingthanga 45’, Roy Krishna 76’) – 2 Mumbai City FC (Rostyn Griffiths 47’, Jorge Pereyra Díaz 88’)