Odisha FC humbles Kerala Blasters to seal a spot in the semi-final of ISL 2023-24

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Odisha FC

In a thrilling encounter that spanned 120 minutes, Odisha FC made history by securing their first-ever semi-final berth in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24. The Kalinga Warriors, as they are fondly known, achieved this feat by defeating Kerala Blasters FC 2-1 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

Odisha FC’s dominance against Blasters

The match was a gripping spectacle from start to finish. Kerala Blasters FC, also known as the Yellow Army, had numerous scoring opportunities before they finally broke the deadlock. Despite securing the first lead in the game, they squandered several chances in front of the goal in the build-up to Cernych’s strike.

The first goal of the match came from the Kerala Blasters side. Mohammed Aimen collected the ball a few yards outside of the box and delivered it for an onrushing Fedor Cernych. The striker shot the ball into the back of the net, getting the visitors a foot ahead in the match.

However, Odisha FC was not to be deterred. They began pushing forward to find breakthroughs themselves, leaving spaces open in their backline for the Kochi-based team to exploit. Their efforts paid off when Lithuanian striker Fedor Cernych netted in the 67th minute.

The equalizer came from Diego Mauricio in the 87th minute, assisted by Roy Krishna. Krishna got behind the Kerala Blasters FC defensive line and laid out a pass for Mauricio that he scored to equalize the game. Ten minutes later, Isak Vanlalruatfela showed similar accuracy from the very same position in close range to score and help Odisha FC progress further in the tournament.

Roy Krishna capped off the game with two assists to his name across 120 minutes. He completed 21 out of his 28 attempted passes, made three crosses and tackles each, and created five goal-scoring opportunities.

This victory marks a significant milestone for Odisha FC, who have won their first-ever ISL playoffs game. They will now be competing against the Mohun Bagan Super Giant across two legs in the last-four clash for a place in the ISL final.

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