Odisha FC beat East Bengal 6-4 in the pair’s first meeting of the 2021/22 Indian Super League season. However, it wasn’t until the 13th minute that the first goal arrived, and it wasn’t Odisha who had scored. Darren Sidoel, formerly of AFC Ajax, gave East Bengal the lead with a stunning volley into the top right corner – setting the tone for what was to come.
It took until the 33rd minute for Odisha to get back into the game, which they did through centre-back Hector Rodas. The Spaniard nodded in a cross from his compatriot Javi Hernandez at the back post, restoring parity.
Seven minutes later, that same combination punished East Bengal again to give Odisha the lead as Rodas headed in a corner from Javi. The attacker scored himself five minutes later – that too, directly from a right-sided inswinging corner – to put the Juggernauts in the driving seat.
The pick of the bunch, among the goals scored, came in the 70th minute from the right foot of Aridai Cabrera. The Odisha number 7 scored a sensational free-kick past Suvam Sen, lifting the ball over the wall and back down in time. Ten minutes later, Thongkhosiem Haokip converted a Mohammed Rafique cross with his head to bring East Bengal one goal closer – and unbeknownst to him, sparked a late flurry which would see both teams score twice, each.
First, it was Isak Vanlalruatfela’s turn to get his name on the scoresheet. The 20-year-old collected a pass from his fellow substitute Isaac Vanmalsawma and smashed a volley home into the far corner to put Odisha 5-2 up.
Then, it was Daniel Chuklu’s turn to score; the striker did just that, twice – first from a corner and then from the spot – to bring East Bengal within a goal of Odisha and set up a grandstand finish.
However, Aridai had different ideas as he smashed the ball into the roof of the net at the other end to put Odisha 6-4 up in the 93rd minute. The Juggernauts held onto their lead for whatever time remained and climbed to second in the table.