Odisha FC stunned in Australia as Central Coast Mariners earn a resounding 4-0 victory

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In a commanding display at the Central Coast Stadium, Odisha FC suffered a resounding 4-0 defeat against Australia’s Central Coast Mariners in the first leg of the AFC Cup 2023-24 inter-zone playoff semifinals. The Juggernauts, topping the Indian Super League (ISL) table with 35 points, entered the match as Group D leaders, while the Mariners secured their place after clinching victory in the ASEAN Zone.

The match kicked off with an early scare for Odisha as Delgado’s defensive lapse allowed Reec to exploit the mistake. Racing towards the away goal, Reec had a one-on-one opportunity with Amrinder, but the goalkeeper made a crucial save, diving low to his left to deny Reec’s attempt, preventing a nightmare start for the Juggernauts.

The Mariners continued their positive start, with Torres attempting a powerful shot from the left side of the box in the 2nd minute, testing Amrinder’s reflexes, but the effort narrowly missed the target. In the 12th minute, Farrell’s overlapping run on the left led to a floating cross, finding Reec unmarked at the far post. Reec displayed exquisite technique with a well-timed volley, striking the underside of the crossbar. Mariners’ players fervently claimed the ball had crossed the line, creating a moment of chaos in the box. Despite the Mariners’ appeals, the referee signaled a handball, sparing the Juggernauts from conceding an early goal.

Odisha struggled to register their first shot on target in the initial 25 minutes, reflecting a lackluster display in the attacking third. The Mariners capitalized on Odisha’s defensive frailties in the 36th minute, with Doka showcasing clinical finishing. After a cutback from Nesbet, Doka received the ball and unleashed a first-time effort that rattled the bottom-left corner of the net. The goal highlighted the Mariners’ superiority, as Odisha found themselves overrun in the defensive third.

Odisha

Just before halftime, Odisha worked Mariners’ keeper Vukovic, with Krishna and Mauricio combining well. Krishna backheeled the ball to Mauricio, who took a couple of touches before firing a low shot at the near post from a tight angle. Vukovic managed to get his hand to it, but the ball went out for a corner, showcasing Odisha’s resilience in creating chances.

The first half concluded with the Mariners dominating proceedings, leaving Odisha trailing despite a couple of positive attacking moves late in the period. In the 50th minute, Jahouh’s floated cross inside the Mariners’ penalty area saw Odisha attempting to capitalize, but the home team launched a swift counter-attack, keeping the Juggernauts on the defensive and maintaining control of the game.

The Mariners extended their lead in the 52nd minute as Roux scored from an excellent one-two with Edmondson. Odisha, desperate to pull one back in the 53rd minute, witnessed Mauricio taking a shot from inside the box, only to see it deflected out of play. The Juggernauts, now trailing by two goals, showed signs of desperation in the 57th minute. Amey had a chance to trouble Vukovic from the edge of the box, but his volley sailed disappointingly above the Mariners’ goal.

Odisha FC stunned in Australia as Central Coast Mariners earn a resounding 4-0 victory 431624690 886280003509470 8022613176930759494 n

In the 74th minute, Odisha aimed for a comeback with a drilled ball at the edge of the box from a corner. Jahouh attempted a first-time shot on the volley, connecting well, but the ball missed the target. The Mariners sealed the game in the 77th minute with a penalty, adding insult to injury for Odisha. Doka calmly executed a Panenka, a subtle chip, securing his brace and a 3-0 lead for the home team. The goal showcased Doka’s composure under pressure, leaving Odisha with an uphill battle.

Edmondson looked to get on the scoresheet in the 80th minute but missed the target, highlighting the Mariners’ continued dominance. In the 89th minute, Barcellos joined the scoring party, capitalizing on Odisha’s sluggish defense. Doka, instrumental throughout, set up Barcellos with a pinpoint pass, and Barcellos poked the ball past Amrinder to score the Mariners’ fourth of the night. The goal exposed the gaps in Odisha’s backline, emphasizing the Mariners’ clinical efficiency.

The Mariners sealed an easy 4-0 victory, with Doka starring with two goals and an assist. The match concluded with an emphatic win for Central Coast Mariners, leaving Odisha FC with a mountain to climb in the second leg at the Kalinga Stadium on March 14.

The Mariners’ stellar performance showcased their prowess, leaving Odisha FC grappling with the daunting challenge of overcoming a significant goal deficit in the return fixture. The Juggernauts will need a remarkable turnaround to overturn the deficit and progress to the next stage of the AFC Cup.


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