ISL: Odisha edge out SC East Bengal 2-1, keep semifinal hopes alive

VASCO, 7 Feb: Javier Hernandez scored a decisive goal as Odisha FC beat SC East Bengal 2-1 to keep their semifinal hopes alive in the Indian Super League (ISL) here on Monday.
The result has elevated Odisha to the sixth place in the points table.
Jonathas (23′) gave Odisha an early lead that lasted until Antonio Perosevic (64′) scored the equaliser in the second half. Hernandez (75′) regained the lead for OFC with a precise finish which proved to be the winner in the end.
In the early stages of the match, Odisha FC applied a lot of pressure and was rewarded with a goal from Jonathas.
The cross for the goal was provided by Hernandez who made room on the right flank and served the ball on a platter for the striker who tapped in from close range.
Looking for the equaliser, Hira Mondal took an attempt just before half time but his left-footed strike went wayward.
The first half ended with the Kalinga Warriors retaining their one-goal advantage. The restart saw more sluggish game play as neither side was able to find inspiration in the final third.
The best chance to score the equaliser fell to Antonio Perosevic two minutes before the hour mark.
A long ball from deep saw the forward find room behind the defensive line but his volley had too much elevation.
However, the Croatian made no mistake from a similar opportunity a few minutes later and scored the equaliser with a low finish into the bottom right corner.
Odisha FC regained the lead 10 minutes later through Javier Hernandez. The midfielder received a lay-off from Jonathas who turned from scorer to provider.
The right-footed shot from the Spaniard took a slight deflection before swerving into the back of the net.
Javi looked to have scored another a few minutes later but Mondal managed to make a goal-line clearance to deny him the goal.
The Red & Gold Brigade had four minutes of added time to find the leveller for the second time which eventually did not arrive, allowing OFC to bag three points. (PTI)