ISL: Odisha FC’s playoff hopes hang in the balance after shock loss to Jamshedpur FCFebruary 23, 2023
Jamshedpur FC finished their season on a high and dealt a potentially fatal blow to Odisha FC’s playoff ambitions after a dominant 2-0 win in the Indian Super League at the Kalinga Stadium on Wednesday.
Goals from Harry Sawyer and Ritwik Das handed the Red Miners their third win in four games and kept FC Goa alive in the playoff pursuit this season. Odisha FC came into the game needing just a point to seal qualification, but will now have to count on FC Goa to not win against Bengaluru FC on Thursday.
The opening twenty minutes were a cagey affair, as the ball stayed in the middle of the park for most of that period. Approaching the half-hour-mark, Sawyer had a couple of opportunities that came his way but neither manifested in a goal that broke the deadlock. At the other end of the pitch, Diego Mauricio cut in from the left flank and glided past three players before shooting straight at the keeper to register the host’s first effort on target in the 34th minute.
Five minutes from the break, Jay Thomas used quick feet to get a strike at goal from inside the box, but Amrinder Singh stood his ground and blocked the on-target shot. At the end of the first half, Jamshedpur FC had more attempts on goal despite Odisha FC keeping more of the ball.
Odisha FC’s playoff hopes were left hanging in the balance just past the hour-mark when they conceded two goals in quick succession to Sawyer and Das. The first goal came after a defensive error from Narender Gahlot allowed the visitors to link up for a goal that was headed in by Sawyer. Seconds later, on a quick break, Das slotted the second past Amrinder.
In the 70th minute, Das outmuscled Shubham Sarangi and tried to lob the keeper but Amrinder tracked back and managed to palm it over the bar. The winger kept trying to find a gap in the Odisha FC back line as the frustrated Juggernauts found themselves at the wrong end of the pitch.
Approaching the 80th minute, Mauricio got past a couple of defenders and went for goal from a tight angle. The striker’s shot was blocked out for a corner which resulted in nothing.
Moments later, the same move was replicated and, once again, Odisha FC could not find a way past the staunch Jamshedpur FC defence. Even to the very end, it was the visitors who created all the big chances as Odisha FC ended the game with just one shot on target.
It was only the second time the Juggernauts have lost at home this season, and the timing will likely give them a sleepless night on Wednesday. FC Goa’s result on Thursday will decide if Odisha FC now make it to their first ever playoff. For Jamshedpur FC, who won the League Shield last year, the season comes to an end with a potential ninth-placed finish dependent on how East Bengal FC finish theirs.