Better but not enough – Odisha, NorthEast United lacked tip

Winless Odisha will want to come down from last place and the Highlanders to bounce back from their first loss of the season…

Odisha and NorthEast United entered the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) game on Tuesday with three points.

Both teams had to treat the game as a must-see competition, but to varying degrees. NorthEast had a good start to the season and held fourth place on the table, but suffered a loss in the previous game. Gerard Nus needed three points to return to victory and climb the standings. But that did not happen.

Stuart Baxter, meanwhile, was chasing his first win of the season. They were winless in their first six games, so there was no excuse to show up and get off to a slow start like they had in their previous games.

Odisha had only scored three goals in six matches and all had come in the second half. In addition, seven of the nine goals they conceded were in the first period. This meant the first half against NorthEast United had to be good for the Juggernauts.

The game was played evenly for most games and both teams lacked a tip that would have helped them put the game to bed. Diego Mauricio. whose consistency in front of goal was questioned, produced a powerful low strike to break the deadlock in the first half – a goal that shattered the first half voodoo for Odisha.

It was the start Odisha really wanted but they couldn’t take advantage of it. As has happened on several occasions this season, they gave up the lead very easily. Credit must also go to NorthEast here showing intention to equalize. And as they have shown time and time again this season, they came back into the game with a deserved equalizer.

And it was no surprise that crossing Ashutosh Mehta produced the equalizer. The right-back was one of the best players on the team and he had a remarkable game on Tuesday.

The equal fight continued in the second half. NorthEast edged out possession stats, but they couldn’t turn that into clear chances. But they were rewarded for their push when Kwesi Appiah was brought back into the box by the keeper after the hour, allowing the forward to score his third goal of the season.

The Northeast defense deactivated shortly after taking the lead and a neat passing move to the edge of the box helped Odisha equalize. Cole Alexander received the ball at the end of the movement and made a good effort into the lower right corner of the net from the left side of the box to take it to 2-2.

After witnessing two goals in as many minutes, the game then fell asleep and neither team wanted to lose the game from that point on. As a result, the booty had to be shared.

You could say that Odisha was disappointed with their defense which struggled to contain and manage the balls in the box. Before Lambot’s goal, there was a period of sustained pressure from NorthEast United where they bombarded the Odisha rearguard with multiple crosses.

Other than the experienced Steven Taylor, none of Odisha’s defenders could handle aerial bullets. The fact that Baxter has not changed staff in defense despite repeated mistakes only shows the lack of depth in the squad or rather the lack of quality players.

NorthEast United, on the other hand, while having a lot of wit, must start converting the results or their good start to the season will be useless.

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