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ISL: Punjab FC loses to Odisha FC, falter in playoff charge

Debutants Punjab FC lost 1-3 against Odisha FC in their last away game to move to the eighth place in ISL league table.

ISL: Punjab FC loses to Odisha FC, falter in playoff charge

Punjab FC were the only club granted license (Photo Credit: ISL)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 2 April 2024 4:51 PM GMT

In their first match after the international break, debutants Punjab FC suffered a 1-3 loss against Odisha FC in the Indian Super League on Tuesday in Kalinga Stadium.

Diego Mauricio scored twice for the hosts while Isak Ralte scored the third. Madih Talal scored the only goal for the away side.

With this win, Odisha FC who remained unbeaten at home moved to second in the table while Punjab FC remained in eighth, still in contention for the final playoff spot.

Punjab FC produced a late charge for the playoff spot and was stationed in the sixth place but this loss means that they will have to win both home games against Mohun Bagan Super Giants and East Bengal FC.

Punjab FC Head Coach Staikos Vergetis made two changes to the starting lineup with Suresh Meitei and Nikhil Prabhu coming back in place of Melroy Assisi and Amarjit Singh Kiyam. Odisha FC Head Coach Sergio Lobera named a very strong lineup for the crucial encounter.

The away side worked hard in the midfield from the start, winning the ball back in the Odisha half leading to promising attacks. Ricky Shabong and Madih Talal created attacking opportunities for the forwards but the finishing was not on point.

Talal and Wilmar Jordan tested Amrinder Singh on goal but the Odisha keeper was up to the task. On the other end, Diego Mauricio struck the crossbar with PFC keeper Ravi Kumar rooted to the spot.

Odisha took the lead right after the water break with Diego Mauricio leaping ahead of Dimitrios Chatziiasias from a Jerry Lalrinzuala cross and planting a header past the diving goalkeeper.

Punjab were not behind for long as they found the equalizer just four minutes later. Left-back Mohammed Salah pounced on a loose ball from Ahmed Jahouh and found Madih Talal. The Frenchman drove ahead and hit a perfect shot which found the bottom corner for his fifth goal of the season.

Both managers made substitutions at the start of the second half, with Juan Mera coming in for Punjab and Lenny Rodrigues for Odisha. The home side controlled the next phase of the match, increasing the tempo and testing the Punjab side.

A couple of quick passes in the right wing found Amey Ranawade whose cutback was expertly finished by Isak Ralte.

Odisha was awarded a penalty in the 67th minute as Suresh Meitei kicked Mourtada Fall inside the box and the resultant penalty was converted by Diego Mauricio who had to take it twice after the first attempt was chalked off for a penalty box infringement by an Odisha player.

With a two-goal lead, Odisha put in a professional display passing the ball around and not allowing Punjab any chance to come back into the game.

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