Guwahati (Assam) [India], August 18 (ANI): Odisha FC put up a stunning show in their opening Group D fixture of the Durand Cup campaign as they netted six goals against NorthEast United FC at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati, on Wednesday.
Three first-half goals by Jerry Mawihmingthanga (14', 38'), Nandhakumar Sekar (26'), and as many goals in the second half by substitutes Isak Vanlalruatfela (81'), Diego Mauricio (88'), and Thoiba Singh (90+1')
Odisha FC got their first taste of action in the third minute through Jerry Mawihmingthanga who found the side-netting from an Isaac Chhakchhuak cross.
Moments later, Pedro Martin had a go at the goal after a Jerry cross took a rebound from the defenders and found Pedro in the box who beat a defender and pulled one in but was denied by the Highlanders' keeper Nikhil Deka.
After several build-ups and chances, Odisha FC found the back of the net in the 14th minute through their star man Jerry Mawihmingthanga. Isaac recovered possession from a dead ball situation and passed it to Pedro Martin who laid it off to Jerry who smashed it home and made it 1-0 for Gombau's men.
Minutes later, Nandhakumar Sekar turned the fortunes around for Odisha FC as he netted the second goal of the game. In what was a stupendous distributed ball from goalkeeper Ralte, it comfortably found the winger on the left who eased past two defenders and curled one in towards the far post to make it 2-0 in the 26th minute.
Josep Gombau's men tripled their lead in the 38th minute after their front three combined beautifully to see off Jerry Mawihmingthanga slotting the ball behind the net assisted by Nandhakumar Sekar and set up by Pedro Martin from the centre of the park.
The second half saw Thoiba Singh and Nikhil Prabhu come on for Isaac and Narender Gahlot respectively.
The Bhubaneswar-based side continued to dominate the field, with NorthEast United FC not able to make the most out of it.
Substitute Isak Vanlalruatfela made an impact on the game as he found the back of the net with a glancing header to beat Nikhil Dekha from a Nandakumar corner to add the fourth one on the scoresheet.
Diego Mauricio burst into action with the fifth goal of the evening after his blazing free-kick beat the keeper and rippled the net in the 88th minute as Thoiba Singh was brought down just outside the box, winning a spot kick for Odisha FC.
Isak came into the picture again, this time combining with Thoiba Singh with an assist, as the latter finished it in style from inside the box to make it six for the Kalinga Warriors.
Odisha FC face Kerala Blasters FC in their next outing on Tuesday while the Highlanders play Army Green FT on Sunday. (ANI)