ISL 2020-21: Stuart Baxter relieved to earn maiden season win with Odisha FC over Kerala Blasters FC
First Published Jan 8, 2021, 6:26 AM IST
Odisha FC earned its maiden win of the ongoing Indian Super League season in the opening nine games. However, it continues to stay at the bottom of the table. Meanwhile, Kerala Blasters FC is a place above, on the 10th spot, with a win from nine games as well.
Odisha FC finally ended its series of a winless run, as it tamed Kerala Blasters FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21, during their clash at the GMC Stadium in Goa on Thursday. The win yet kept Odisha at the bottom of the table, while Blasters stays a place above, on 10th.
It all started with Jordan Murray in the seventh minute, who put the Blasters ahead, only for Jeakson Singh's own goal to allow Odisha to make a comeback in the 22nd. Steven Taylor put Odisha ahead in the 42nd, followed by Diego Mauricio's double, in the 50th and 60th minute. Gary Hooper scored the second for Blasters in the 79th minute, to no avail.
Following the game, Odisha manager, Stuart Baxter, seemed to be relieved by the performance of his said, as he said, "I'm relieved and pleased for the boys. This group of players have worked so hard. They understood the situation and stepped up. My feeling is secondary now. It's all about my players. We worked on having Jacob (Tratt) as the right-back. Playing with two centre-backs, as opposed to three, we pushed Jacob up the field. He linked well with Jerry (Mawihmingthanga) and Daniel (Lalhlimpuia) and it helped us."
"I'm happy that the change in strategy worked this time. We did concede a silly goal, but the players put that behind and won the game. (Manuel) Onwu's injury was unfortunate, but hope he returns soon. I fully believe in my players, and if they keep giving their best on the pitch, I'm happy whether it is a win, loss or draw," added Baxter.
Meanwhile, Blasters head coach, Kibu Vicuna took the blame upon himself for his side's poor show. "First, I want to say sorry to the Kerala Blasters fans because our performance tonight wasn't good enough. After this match, it's very difficult to feel good about the work we are doing. Especially after the second goal, we turned off. They (Odisha FC) won every second ball and dominated us on the field," he said.
"It is very difficult to analyse this game because we have very few positives to take. I don't like excuses and I'm completely responsible for tonight. I've always believed in my players and I was completely satisfied with the recruitment done in the summer. We have to work together to overcome this slump," concluded Vicuna.
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