Bhubaneswar, August 11: In a thrilling Durand Cup group stage, Odisha FC showcased resilience and coordination, making a strong start with a saved shot by Pungte and solid defense denying RUFC.
Adwin’s corner found Chandra for the opener, quickly countered by a powerful shot from Denzell for RUFC. A penalty for Odisha FC, confidently converted by Aphaoba, secured a vital lead. The team held firm against RUFC’s pressure, sealing a well-deserved victory.
In the 5th minute of the game, Odisha FC made a great start as Rahul played a through ball for Kartik inside the penalty box. Kartik cut across to Pungte, who took a shot, but it was saved by the RUFC keeper.
In the 19th minute, a beautiful through ball was played to Denzell, who tested Neeraj with a quick left-footed strike, but the captain Rakesh and Neeraj were well positioned to deny them the opening goal.
Early in the second half, the Juggernauts scored their first goal of the Durand Cup as Adwin’s beautiful corner was converted by Chandra, giving Odisha FC the lead. (1-0) However, within three minutes, in the 52nd minute of the game, the Desert Warriors equalized as Denzell found the back of the net with an absolute bullet of a shot. Niraj stood no chance. (1-1)
In the 54th minute, there was a great chance for Odisha FC as the ball from the right flank was tipped off by the RUFC keeper to deny Rahul a tap-in. Pungte got the rebound, but his shot was off-target.
In the 64th minute, the Kalinga Warriors were awarded a penalty as the RUFC defender brought down Rahul Mukhi inside the box. The team left no stone unturned, and Aphaoba sent the keeper the wrong way, giving the Kalinga Warriors the lead again (2-1).
Coach Amit Rana’s boys held their ground, resilient in the face of RUFC’s onslaught, and showcased impressive teamwork throughout the match. Their coordination was evident in effectively clearing a dangerous free-kick from RUFC, maintaining their lead and ultimately clinching a well-deserved victory.
Odisha FC’s Final Group Stage Showdown Set Against Bodoland FC on August 19, 2023