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Football

ISL: Odisha FC on a journey towards something special

Odisha FC's 2023-24 ISL campaign was a testament to their growth as a team, as they navigated through highs and lows under new head coach, Sergio Lobera.

ISL: Odisha FC on a journey towards something special
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Odisha FC ISL Season review

By

Aswathy Santhosh

Published: 19 May 2024 6:19 PM GMT

The 2023-24 Indian Super League (ISL) season was a rollercoaster for Odisha FC, ending in a heart-wrenching semi-final defeat to Mohun Bagan Super Giant. Despite the bitter conclusion, the season was filled with notable achievements and pro for the club.

Odisha FC finished the 2022-23 football season on a high note, securing their first-ever qualification for the ISL playoffs and clinching their inaugural silverware by defeating Bengaluru FC in the Super Cup final. This success set high expectations for the following season.

To further bolster their squad, Odisha FC appointed Sergio Lobera, one of the most accomplished coaches in the league. Under Lobera's guidance, the team aimed to build on their previous success and make a significant impact in the 2023-24 season.


The season began positively for the Kalinga Warriors, with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Chennaiyin FC in the opening matchweek. This was followed by a thrilling 2-2 draw at home against Mumbai City FC. However, the team faced challenges early on, suffering two consecutive away defeats to FC Goa and Kerala Blasters FC. Despite these setbacks, Odisha FC showed resilience and bounced back with a remarkable performance at home against Bengaluru FC, where they overturned a two-goal deficit to secure a 3-2 victory.

The team then embarked on a remarkable 13-game unbeaten run, which propelled them to the top of the league standings at one point. During this period, Odisha FC demonstrated a solid defensive record while also showcasing an attacking flair, eventually finishing the season with 35 goals for and 23 goals against. Over the course of 22 matches, they secured 11 wins, 5 losses, and 6 draws, amassing a total of 39 points. This impressive performance included a stellar home record, remaining unbeaten at home with eight wins and three draws, though they faced challenges maintaining consistency on the road.

In the playoffs, Odisha FC once again demonstrated their strength at home, securing a comeback win against Kerala Blasters FC in the Knockouts, which earned them a spot in the semi-finals for the first time in their history. In the semi-finals, they continued their strong performance with a 2-1 victory against Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the first leg. However, their campaign ended in disappointment with a 2-0 defeat in the second leg to the Mariners, dashing their hopes of reaching the final.

Throughout the season, Odisha FC showed glimpses of their potential. They maintained an impressive home record, reached the knockouts of the AFC Cup in their debut campaign, and advanced to the finals of the Kalinga Super Cup. These achievements, coupled with their semi-final appearance in the ISL, indicate a promising future for the club.

Player of the season- Ahmed Jahou

Ahmed Jahouh was undoubtedly Odisha FC's best player this season, with the club's success heavily relying on him. The team's defeats and struggles occurred primarily in his absence.

Emerging player of the season- Isak

Under Lobera Vanlalruatfela, he solidified his spot on the left wing, filling the gap left by Nandhakumar Sekar. Trusted by the Spanish coach, he played 24 out of 25 matches, scoring four goals and assisting three.

Season rating

Odisha FC's season was marked by resilience, highlighted by their strong home record and second semi-final appearance. Despite the heartbreak in the semi-finals, the team's overall performance promises a bright future ahead. Odisha FC's 2023-24 ISL season deserves a solid 7 out of 10.

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