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  ISL Football: Odisha FC suffer first defeat
05 Dec 2021

December 5: After a fine start with two consecutive wins, Odisha FC suffered first defeat in the 2021-22 Indian Super League (ISL), going down to Kerala Blasters 1-2 at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco today. This was the first win of the season for Kerala Blasters.

Alvaro Vazquez (62nd) and substitute Prasanth Karuthadathkuni (85th) scored second-half goals to hand the yellow shirts their first victory in 11 months. For Odisha, Nikhil Raj _ in for Javi Hernandez _ pulled one back in second-half stoppage time.

Attacking Adrian Luna was brilliant throughout the game and was instrumental in both the goals for Kerala Blasters. Courtesy the result, Kerala rise to sixth in the points table with five points from four games. Odisha, meanwhile, remain on third having six points from three outings.

Adrian Luna tried his luck from a free kick in the seventh minute, forcing Kamaljit to dive to his left and deny the Uruguayan. Odisha got their first real chance in the 12th minute when Aridai Cabrera bombed down the left flank and set Javi Hernandez up, but the effort of the Spaniard fizzed over the bar.

Moments after the water break, Vincy Barreto was marginally offside after being through on goal. For Odisha, who were kept under the cosh by Kerala, full back Hendry Antonay attempted an audacious long-ranger which dipped at the top right corner but Albino was on hand to parry the ball over the bar.

At halftime, both teams were level but the men in yellow bossed proceedings. The second half started in the same vein with Kerala ruling the roost. Luna was in the thick of things again just after the hour mark, and this time his through ball found Vazquez who timed his run to perfection. The Spaniard ran 30 yards, rounded the keeper and put the ball in the back of the net.

Three minutes after the goal, Kerala replaced Barretto with Nishu Kumar while Odisha threw in Gaurav Bora for Thoiba. Kerala suffered a setback when Albino went down after taking the goal kick and had to be taken off. India U-23 custodian Prabhsukhan Gill replaced him as Sahal also went off after a stellar show, with Prasanth Karuthadathkuni replacing the national team midfielder.

The moment to saviour for midfielder Prasanth came five minutes to the final whistle when he dinked a perfectly weighed Luna ball past the keeper after a lovely run off the Uruguayan. Raj scored a late goal for Odisha but it did not matter in the end.
PHOTO: Nikhil Raj scores for Odisha FC in their ISL match against Kerala Blasters in Vasco on 5 December 2021.



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