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Goncalves brace helps Chennaiyin beat Odisha 2-1 in ISL

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Bambolim (Goa), Jan 13 (IANS) Chennaiyin FC managed to get past Odisha FC in the second match between the two sides in four days with a 2-1 win in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Wednesday.

Portuguese forward Esmael Goncalves scored a brace in the first half and Diego Mauricio’s screamer in the second was not enough for Odisha to claw their way back at the GMC Stadium.

Goncalves had the chance to put his team ahead in the fifth minute when he got in behind the Odisha defence, but with only goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh to beat, he blasted his chance over. However, he made amends for that 10 minutes later with a well-taken goal. Gaurav Bora failed to deal with a long ball from Rahim Ali and it fell towards Goncalves, who did not make a mistake this time.

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Before Odisha had the chance to react to going behind, Chennaiyin doubled their lead. Bora was again at fault, hacking down Anirudh Thapa in the box. Goncalves stepped up to take the spot-kick and sent Arshdeep the wrong way.

Chennaiyin defended well after securing a comfortable lead as Odisha struggled to fashion clear-cut chances. The closest they got in the first half was in the 37th minute when Manuel Onwu found himself with the ball at his feet and a sight on goal, but his shot went wide.

With a couple of early inroads into the Odisha box, Chennaiyin looked the team likelier to score. However, Mauricio, who replaced Marcelo Pereira at halftime, had other plans as he pulled one back for his team in spectacular fashion with a long-range curler.

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Chennaiyin had a great opportunity to restore their lead late on when Lallianzuala Chhangte, after an excellent run, squared the ball to substitute Thoi Singh. However, the veteran, despite only having the goalkeeper to beat, failed to get his shot on target.

Odisha almost took advantage of this in the 85th minute when Daniel Lalhlimpuia managed to get a shot in from just outside the box. However, goalkeeper Vishal Kaith pulled off an excellent diving save.

–IANS

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