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Odisha FC vs North-East United FC: A Review

The encounter in Bambolin between the Kalinga Warriors and the Highlanders ended in an exciting encounter for a neutral. The teams drew level with two goals each with two come-backs for both the teams. The game started on a bright note with both the teams fighting to win duels and shred open the opposition. However a 23rd-minute goal from Diego Mauricio put the home side ahead. After the goal, the Highlanders reacted positively with intent to breach Odisha's goal. Federico Gallego starred the midfield with his progressive play, game intelligence and vision. Right at the stroke of injury time in the first half, captain Benjamin Lambot equalised from a cross from the deep from a resultant free-kick. The Belgian jumped onto the ball and headed home with a towering header. 1-1! It was game on! This definitely changed the half-time team talks for both Gerard Nus and Steven Baxter.

The second half saw Gallego substituted which did raise eyebrows considering he was the orchestrator on the pitch. Coach mentioned in his post-match conference that it was a preventive measure for the Uruguayan and the team considering the season is long ahead. "To be fair, the plan was that he would play even less, but we kept him on the pitch because he was bringing a lot. You want to prevent him from getting injured again. There’s going to be more games and we want him to be ready for the next game as well" said the Spaniard. His substitution with Sylla coming in changed the dynamics of the game. Odisha looked more confident and brave to play around, knowing that without Gallego, during a counter-attack there are not many players in the North-East team now who can make that final pass.

While Machado took the responsibility of the creative threat, North-East earned themselves a penalty when the Portuguese passed it on to Appiah, just to be fouled by the goal-keeper. A composed finish put the Highlanders ahead. The joy was however cut short when Cole Alexander equalised with a smart curler to beat Gurmeet who was blinded by the men in front of him.

North-East had another glorious opportunity when Sylla failed to capitalize on a mistake by the OFC defenders in the 68th minute. While the game was destined for a draw, substitute Camara almost belted in a screamer in the 85th minute that flew over the bar. What a goal that would have been for arguably the best player of the season so far for the Highlanders.

The fifth draw of the season is surely a disappointing result for the ambitious redmen, and we believe these draws could come back to haunt us at the end of the season. Gaffer also mentioned his disappointment in the result as his boys were trying to outsmart Odisha who have been winless so far.

While the team needs to take their chances and be more ruthless we surely loved one aspect of the game. Seeing the magician Gallego get his first start and spray some of his South-American magic. Hopefully we get to see a midfield of Apuia-Camara-Gallego in the coming matches. Wouldn't that be nice to support an attack of Machado and Charra?

Up next would be reigning champions ATK-Mohun Bagan and we would love to win that cracker.

Gutted to have not taken the pre-Christmas present, but for now, the boys need recovery and spend some time together during the festive season.

Merry Christmas!

Up The Highlanders!

We Walk Through This Together


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