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2020-21 Indian Super League, Regular Season
  • Diego Mauricio (63')
  • Esmaël Gonçalves (15', 21' PEN)

ISL 2020-21: Chennaiyin climb to fifth with Isma brace against Odisha

Isma celebrates after scoring for Chennaiyin FC vs Odisha FC Arjun Singh / Sportzpics for ISL

Chennaiyin FC beat Odisha FC 2-1 at Bambolim on Wednesday to climb to fifth in the ISL table. After struggling for goals all season, Csaba Laszlo's men scored two in the opening quarter of the game. Portuguese forward Esmael Goncalves, Isma, opened the scoring in the 15th minute, before putting Chennaiyin two-up by converting a penalty in the 21st minute. However, a superb goal from Diego Mauricio in the 64h minute gave Odisha hope, before Chennaiyin held on for the win.

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The evening started on familiar lines for Chennaiyin, Isma blazing over from inside the box with only keeper Arshdeep Singh to beat in the fifth minute. However, he made amends for that miss ten minutes later with a well-taken goal. Gaurav Bora failed to deal with a long ball from Rahim Ali and it fell towards Isma, who shrugged off Bora and Taylor before calmly lifting it over the onrushing Arshdeep.

Before Odisha had the chance to react to going behind, Chennaiyin doubled their lead. Bora was again at fault, hacking down Anirudh Thapa in the box after a clever turn by the Chennaiyin midfielder. Isma stepped up, and sent Arshdeep the wrong way as he buried it in the bottom corner.

Odisha struggled to fashion clear-cut chances in the first. The closest they got in the first half was in the 37th minute when Manuel Onwu found himself with the ball at his feet and a sight on goal, but he sent his shot wide.

With a couple of early inroads into the Odisha box, Chennaiyin looked the team likelier to score. However, Mauricio, who replaced Marcelo Pereira at halftime, had other plans as he pulled one back for his team in spectacular fashion with a long-range curler.

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Chennaiyin had a great opportunity to restore their lead late on when Lallianzuala Chhangte, after an excellent run, squared the ball to substitute Thoi Singh. However, the veteran, despite only having the keeper to beat, skewed it wide of the far post.

Odisha almost took advantage of this in the 85th minute when Daniel Lalhlimpuia managed to get a shot in from just outside the box. However, keeper Vishal Kaith pulled off an excellent diving save.

Odisha piled on the pressure in the closing minutes but were unable to find the equaliser. This keeps them rooted at the bottom of the table, with just six points in 11 games. They face in-form Hyderabad next on the 19th. Chennaiyin, meanwhile, take on East Bengal on the 18th.