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  Mauricio brace guides Odisha FC to 1st win in ISL-7
07 Jan 2021

Odisha FC got the monkey off their back as they cruised to their first win in the 7th season of the Hero Indian Super League with a 4-2 victory over Kerala Blasters at the GMC Stadium in Goa today. Diego Mauricio was the star in the Odisha FC win, scoring two goals.

Kerala drew first blood through Jordan Murray in the seventh minute, but Odisha took the lead in the first half itself through an own goal from Jeakson Singh (22nd) and a strike from Steven Taylor (42nd). A second-half brace (50th, 60th) by Diego Mauricio settled the tie in favor of Odisha. Gary Hooper (79th) scored a consolation for Kerala, but it proved to be not enough to spark a comeback.

It was Odisha who started better, enforcing a corner in the third minute but Kerala scored the opener much against the run of play. KP Rahul headed a freekick of Facundo Pereyra at goal and a diving Arshdeep Singh could only parry it straight into the path of Murray, who made no mistake from a tight angle.


Odisha struck back 15 minutes later in somewhat fortuitous fashion. Jerry Mawihmingthanga found Mauricio on the right and his shot took a heavy deflection off Jeakson before trickling past a wrong-footed Albino Gomes.

Vicente Gomez almost came up with an instant equaliser as he headed in the cross by Pereyra, but it was straight at Arshdeep. Kerala would rue the misses soon with Taylor taking advantage of some poor defending to give Odisha the lead just before halftime. A cross by Jerry found Taylor unmarked at the far post and the English defender calmly slotted in.

Jerry missed a good chance straight after the restart, but Mauricio would soon ensure that his miss went unpunished. First, he scored third goal for Odisha after a lob by Jerry found him clear on goal. Ten minutes later, he scored a spectacular goal to put the result beyond doubt. The Brazilian received the ball from Nandhakumar Sekhar and beat a defender before curling it past the keeper from outside the box.

Kerala would have a glimmer of hope in the 79th minute when Gary Hooper netted their second. Jordan Murray did well to put the ball in the box and found Hooper, who slashed at goal. His shot took a deflection off Taylor before going in.

The goal inspired the previously-downbeat Kerala players as they launched assault after assault on the Odisha goal. However, the Odisha defence stood firm as their coach Stuart Baxter celebrated his first win of the season at the final whistle.

Odisha FC bagged all three awards of the match including the Club Award. Mauricion took the Hero of the Match prize, while the prize for Winning Pass of the Match went to Jerry Mawihmingthanga.
------------------------------------------------------------------- PICS -------------------------------------------------------------------
TOP: Odisha FC forward Diego Mauricio celebrates after scoring a goal in their ISL match against Kerala Blasters in Goa on 7 January, 2021.
RIGHT: Odisha FC captain Steven Taylor scores against Kerala Blasters in Goa on 7 January, 2021.


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