ReportKerala had a chance to respond immediately when Vicente Gómez had a free header at the far post when he was picked out by Facundo Pereyra’s cross, but he missed wide. Soon thereafter, Rahul KP burst into the box and pulled the trigger, but his deflected effort was well-saved by Arshdeep Singh. Diego Maurício came close to taking the lead for his side in the 34th minute when he hit a first-time half-volley from close-range towards the near post, but it was well kept out by the strong hand of Albino Gomes. Odisha FC took the lead in the 42nd minute when Steven Taylor crept in unmarked at the far post and rolled Jerry Mawihmingthanga’s free-kick past the keeper.
Key Talking Point
A Sack-Worthy PerformanceThe departure of Carles Cuadrat meant that some other underperforming managers also came under yet more pressure, and Kibu Vicuña was certainly one of them. The Spanish tactician picked an all-Indian defence for the second time this season, having kept a clean sheet with them against Hyderabad FC. Things started off well for his side as they took the lead within seven minutes, and for the next quarter of an hour, they preserved that advantage too. Things started to unravel thereafter, and it was all kicked off by some poor defending which led to an unfortunate own goal. There was no element of luck involved when Odisha took the lead from a set-piece when the Kerala defence was caught napping as Steven Taylor ghosted in unmarked at the far post, and worse yet, this was just before half-time. Things didn’t get much better on the other side of the break either when even more shocking defending allowed Odisha FC to make it four.
This was a horrendous all-round display from Kerala Blasters – one which may well cost their manager his job.
Kerala Blasters— Sandeep Menon (@SandynoneM) January 7, 2021
1. Porous defence
2. Individual mistakes
3. Marking from set-pieces terrible
4. Reacts a bit late to adversity
While the coach will cop a lot of blame, the players really have to concentrate and deliver. Take individual accountability on field. #ISL #KBFCOFC
Player RatingsAlbino Gomes (7), Nishu Kumar (4.5), Sandeep Singh (4), Abdul Nediyodath (3), Jessel Carneiro (4), Jeakson Thounaojam (4), Vicente Gómez (5.5), Rahul KP (5), Facundo Pereyra (6), Sahal Abdul Samad (5), Jordan Murray (7*) Subs: Bakary Koné (4), Prasanth Karuthadathkuni (4.5), Gary Hooper (6.5), Lalthathanga Khawlhring (5.5) Rohit Kumar (4.5)
Key Talking Point
Persistence RewardedOdisha FC had failed to win any of their first eight matches this season – the worst-ever start for any ISL side – yet Stuart Baxter kept his faith in a near-unchanged lineup. One of the crucial changes he made tonight, though, was switching to a 4-4-2. The idea was to play Manuel Onwu up top alongside Diego Maurício, but that plan went out of the window just a few minutes before kickoff as the former picked up an injury in the warmup. Things went from bad to worse seven minutes into the match, when the away side conceded following some poor defending. Things massively changed after that, as a bit of luck saw the Kalinga Warriors equalise through an own goal. Then, some more gifts from their opponents allowed them to take the lead through Steven Taylor before half-time, meaning that they took a lead into the second half for the first time this season. Stuart Baxter’s side built on it too, going 4-1 up before an hour’s worth of football was played.
Player RatingsArshdeep Singh (6), Jacob Tratt (7.5), Steven Taylor (8), Gaurav Bora (6.5), Hendry Antonay (8), Jerry Mawihmingthanga (7.5), Vinit Rai (6.5), Cole Alexander (7.5), Nanda Kumar (6), Diego Maurício (9*), Daniel Lalhlimpuia (6) Subs: Marcelinho (N/A), Sajid Dhot (N/A), Paul Ramfangzauva (N/A)
Diego MaurícioAfter lighting the league up with an absolutely brilliant brace against Jamshedpur FC on matchday 2, Diego Maurício’s season started to cool down. He returned with the heat tonight, though, as he blew away the Kerala Blasters defence. The Brazilian forward played a crucial part in his side’s first goal as his cross was deflected in for an own goal, but after that, he did it all by himself. He chased and finished a through ball early on in the second half to make it 3-1, before adding to his tally with a great solo effort.
The 29-year-old striker bagged his brace from 4/6 shots on target, hit the crossbar once, got 54 touches, created 2 chances, won 4/5 duels and completed 81% of his passes in an outstanding display. What a man, what a performance, and what a win for Odisha.
Diego Mauricio is playing like a 12th std bully against random 5th std boys at lunch break.— Anirudh (@AnirudhMenon89) January 7, 2021
Leave the kids alone, Diego! They just want to play.