Odisha FC came from behind to beat SC East Bengal 6-4 in the 2021-22 Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Tuesday.
Darren Sidoel (13′) opened the scoring for the Kolkata side with Semboi Haokip (80′) and Daniel Chima (90′, 90+2’P) also getting into the scoresheet. However, goals from Hector Rodas (33′, 40′), Javi Hernandez (45′), Aridai Suarez (71′, 90+4′) and Isak Vanlalruatfela (82′) left the red and yellows still winless as the Bhubaneswar-based side equalled ATK Mohun Bagan with six points on top of the table.
It took under thirteen minutes for the floodgates to open. SC East Bengal started the proceedings. Veteran Raju Gaikwad in one of his signature long throw-ins delivered into the box. A mistimed clearance from the Odisha defence saw the ball put in space for Sidoel, who banged into the top-right corner of the net.
Odisha had the chance to equalise soon with Nandhakumar Sekar shooting wide. However, amends were made by defender Hector Rodas. The former Levante man first nodded home a long freekick delivered from Javi where SC East Bengal defenders failed to mark Rodas’ physical presence.
The same pair that linked up again for Odisha to take the lead. Javi’s corner-kick was headed into the net by Rodas who left Raju Gaikwad for dead inside the box, making it 2-1.
It could have been a hat-trick for both Rodas and Javi in the goals and assists department but this time, Javi, the former ATK Mohun Bagan man scored a high-quality Olympic goal, curving the ball past the goalkeeper’s reach from the flag-kick before halftime.
While Javi never made it back onto the pitch post the break, Kiko Ramirez went for the offensive. Aridai Suarez and Jonathas were introduced with Mongil making way.
There was a triple change for the Kolkata side at the hour-mark too. Chima, Mrcela and Amarjit were brought in, shuffling in fresh legs.
Aridai’s ballistic freekick left Suvam Sen no chance as he started the second-half goal show. The first five goals in the match got delivered through set-pieces.
Semboi Haokip nodded in a second-half consolation, heading in a swerving delivery from Mohd Rafique. But Isak who came on as a substitute also joined the party with a fine sharp strike. Chima too got his first two goals in SC East Bengal colours in the dying embers of the game but Aridai delivered the final blow in a ten-game thriller.
SCEB opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Dutchman Darren Sidoel blasted the ball into the top right corner following a long throw-in by Raju Gaikwad from left.
Ten minutes later, Nandhakumar Sekar missed a clear chance to draw level but Odisha didn’t have to wait much to let the floodgates open. An unmarked Rodas headed home a perfect free-kick across goal from countryman Javi Hernandez to level proceedings in the 33rd minute and seven minutes later, the duo combined to take Odisha ahead with the Spanish centre-back scoring his second of the game from Javi’s looping corner from left.
Gaikwad again failed to mark his man properly as Rodas beat the SCEB centre-back in the middle of the box to beat Suvam Sen all ends up. Happy to turn provider on both occasions, Javi decided to write his name on the scoresheet minutes before the half-time whistle and went solo.
The former ATK Mohun Bagan player, famous for his dead-ball skills, scored direct from a swirling corner from right which went in at the far post and Sen, who already took a couple of steps just at the time of delivery, could do nothing but see it fly over his head to give Odisha a comfortable 3-1 lead going into the break.
But it was some mad last 20 minutes of the game which saw six goals being scored one after another making it difficult to keep track of both the scorers as well as the scoresheet.
Aridai, coming in place of Javi at the start of second half, scored his first of the match direct from another free-kick. Like Odisha’s first match, substitute Jonathas de Jesus’ kiss on the ball proved to be magical as the Spaniard scored beating SCEB custodian Sen at top left corner of the goal. Aridai’s second goal, last of the match, soothed Odisha nerves as it made the scoreline 6-4 to ensure there was no big comeback story in favour of the beleaguered Kolkata giants.
With back-to-back wins, Odisha are now second on the table behind ATK Mohun Bagan as SCEB remained rooted to 10th spot with a solitary point after three matches.