Sekar sank Bengaluru FC as Odisha FC claimed their third win of the season

Bhubaneswar: Odisha FC beat Bengaluru FC 1-0 to climb to the top of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) with nine points at the Kalinga Stadium here on Thursday.

Nandhakumar Sekar scored a belter in the 33rd minute and it turned out to be the only goal of the match. It was Sekar’s second goal for Hero ISL and also his second against Bengaluru FC in Hero ISL.

Josep Gombau made one change to the team that defeated Kerala Blasters. Rainier Fernandes has replaced Isaac Cakchhuak in Odisha FC’s midfield. Simon Grayson changed the Blues’ starting line-up for the first time in the Hero ISL this season. Alan Costa and Javier Hernandez were replaced by Leon Augustine and Roy Krishna as FC Bengaluru switched to a four-man defence.

The home side started in front when BFC goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu got down quickly to deny Jerry Mawihmingtanga at the near post after just two minutes. At the other end, Roy Krishna pounced on a length ball but his shot flew wide.

Midway through the first half, Bruno Silva played a superb through ball to Krishna. The striker was denied a brave save by attacking midfielder Amrinder Singh. Approaching the half-hour mark, Saul Crespo’s cross from the right wing was missed by BFC’s Aleksandar Jovanovic before Diego Mauricio fired wide.

The Juggernauts opened their account in the 33rd minute with an absolute strike from Sekar. Sahil Panwar’s corner was cleared but only to Sekar. The striker scored his second goal of the Hero ISL in style with a venomous strike from 26 yards.

As the hour mark approached, the game became quite scrappy in the middle third. Bengaluru FC tried to push the hosts into their own half. There was a lack of creativity in midfield as both sides tried several long passes to their respective forwards. Krishna was heavily marked, as was reserve Pedro Martin at the other end.

In the 67th minute, the Juggernauts took the lead as Pedro Martin slotted the ball into the box. The striker’s weak effort eventually landed in the path of Jerry, who was completely unmarked. However, the winger failed to capitalize and sent his shot straight at the goalkeeper.

Defender Alan Costa, who headed in BFC’s only win of the season so far, came on seven minutes from time to play alongside Krishna. However, the visitors were unable to add the finishing touch as they finished the game with just two shots on goal and no man on the scoresheet.

In Match 5, the Juggernauts will be on their way to face the defending champions Hyderabad FC on November 5. The Blues will have an extended break before hosting East Bengal FC at home in Match 6.

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