In a gripping encounter, defending champions Mohun Bagan Super Giant staged a remarkable comeback, erasing a two-goal deficit to hold visiting Odisha FC to a thrilling 2-2 draw in their ISL 2023/24 fixture at the Salt Lake Stadium on Wednesday.
Ahmed Jahouh showcased his prowess by securing both goals for Odisha, while Armando Sadiku emerged as the savior for Mohun Bagan SG with crucial replies.
Odisha FC capitalized on a defensive lapse by Mohun Bagan, securing the lead near the half-hour mark when Jahouh expertly converted from the spot after a handling foul by Subhasish Bose inside the box.
Unfortunately, injury woes plagued Mohun Bagan’s performance, compounded by the absence of key players like Hugo Boumous, Ashique Kuruniyan, Anwar Ali, Manvir Singh, and Dimitri Petratos. The absence of Boumous just before the match onset added to the challenges faced by the home team.
Jahouh extended Odisha’s lead just before halftime, seizing a ball from Sahal Abdul Samad and converting a well-crafted cross from Diego Mauricio. Samad’s injury further compounded Mohun Bagan’s concerns, while Anirudh Thapa’s replacement due to injury heightened the team’s predicament just before the break.
However, Mohun Bagan rallied in the second half, with Armando Sadiku’s timely goal in the 58th minute revitalizing their spirits. The Albanian forward capitalized on an assist from Kiyan Nassiri, putting Mohun Bagan back in contention after a series of earlier misses.
A tense finale ensued, with Odisha FC coming close to securing victory, saved only by the impressive goalkeeping of Vishal Kaith, who denied successive attempts by Princeton Rebello and Pranjal Bhumij in the dying moments of the match.
In a dramatic turn, Armando Sadiku netted the equalizer deep into injury time (90+4 minutes), salvaging a crucial point for the hosts and preventing Odisha FC from claiming victory.
The intense on-field action culminated in post-match controversy, resulting in red cards shown to Mohun Bagan coach Juan Ferrando and Odisha FC’s Diego Mauricio by referee Crystal John, following an altercation.