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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Odisha FC stage epic comeback in AFC Cup


 Odisha FC staged a remarkable comeback after falling behind by two goals in the opening half to beat Maldives’ Maziya Sports & Recreation 3-2 in their Group D away match of the AFC Cup at the Maldives National Stadium here on Tuesday.

Entering this must-win game to keep their hopes alive for advancing to the next round, the Juggernauts conceded two early goals, with Naiz Hassan (2’) and Vojislav Balabanovic (26’) scoring for the hosts.

However, Sergio Lobera’s side didn’t back down and fought back in the second half, with Mourtada Fall (65’), Diego Mauricio (72’), and Roy Krishna (85’) all finding the scoresheet to secure all three points.

The hosts began the game aggressively and quickly found the back of the net. The Odisha FC defence momentarily stood still as Naiz Hassan capitalized on the opportunity to put the hosts ahead.

The home side applied more pressure and was awarded a penalty in the middle of the first half following a reckless challenge from Fall. Serbian forward Balabanovic made no mistake from the spot to double their lead.

The Maziya defence resisted Odisha FC’s attacks for the remainder of the first half and the opening quarter of the second half.

However, the Juggernauts regained their momentum with Fall finding the back of the net from an Ahmed Jahouh corner. Seven minutes later, Brazilian forward Mauricio headed home the equalizer from another Jahouh set-piece.

The Indian Super League (ISL) side continued to apply more pressure in the remaining minutes of the second half and rightfully found the winner through Roy Krishna, as the Fijian dribbled past one defender to complete the comeback for Odisha FC.

Odisha FC now sit in third place in the table with six points, while Maziya is in fourth with three points.

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