Odisha FC head coach Josep Gombau was happy with the way his players fought until the last minute against Chennaiyin FC at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneshwar on Thursday. The Kalinga Warriors registered a thrilling 3-2 win against the Marina Machans to secure three crucial points.
The home team took a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute after Iranian footballer Vafa Hakhamaneshi scored an own goal. Odisha was able to double their lead after Diego Mauricio scored from the spot in the 49th minute.
However, the tourists bounced back into the contest as El Khayati got one goal back for his team. Subsequently, Marina Machans were given a penalty in the 90th minute which Khayati converted. However, Nandhakumar Sekar scored in the stoppage time to take his team home.
Sharing his thoughts on the match, Josep Gombau said in the post-match press conference, “First of all, we are happy with the three points that we got. The first half was very good and we dominated it. We scored and we had a couple more chances to go into half time, winning 2-0. The second half was more equal. We scored a penalty, but Chennaiyin FC pressed us a lot and they played well. They are a good team with a strong winning mentality and after that, it was 2-2.”
He added, “Even at 2-2, we tried to score the third goal and we scored after a minute. We showed the mentality and the character that the boys have and we take it game by game (from here). (At the moment), the Hero ISL standings are very close and if we had lost, Chennaiyin FC would have gone up ahead of us. I’m happy with the way the players fought until the last minute to win the game.”
Meanwhile, Nandhakumar Sekar has impressed with his game as he has scored two goals in as many matches.
Heaping praise on the 26-year-old youngster from Salem, Gombau said, “We are so happy with Nandha, and he is a very important player for us. He has a lot of qualities and he is a player that I like and I believe in him. Together as a team, we do the job, but having someone like him, it’s not just that he scores, but the way that he works when we don’t have the ball. We are also happy with (Jerry Mawihmingthanga). The last goal came from Jerry’s anticipation and Nandha finished. Last week (against East Bengal), both of them scored the third and the fourth goal that allowed us to win the game.”
Odisha FC will next take on NorthEast United FC at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneshwar on 2nd December.