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Odisha moves into third place after a thrilling 3-2 win over Chennaiyin FC

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Odisha FC and Chennaiyin finished in dramatic fashion in the Indian Premier League (ISL) at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday. Nandakumar Sekar’s 96th-minute goal sealed a 3-2 win for Al Jabal after Chennaiyin scored the equalizer in the 94th minute from Abdul Nasir Al Khayyat’s penalty kick.

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The hosts made two changes to the starting line-up. Diego Mauricio dropped to the bench as Pedro Martin made his first start of the season for Odisha FC. Jerry Maweheminga returned to the starting lineup, and Isaac Chakchwak started from the bench. Chennaiyin FC fielded the same team that beat Jamshedpur FC.

Odisha FC got their noses in front on the half-hour mark, courtesy of an own goal by Vafa Hakhamaneshi. Sohail Banwar crossed from the left before Reinier Fernandez attempted to head the ball to Jerry. While trying to intercept the ball, Hakhamaneshi redirected the ball into the back of his own net.

Chennaiyin FC made two changes in the first half. Al Khayat and Rahim Ali came in to replace Julius Docker and Sajal Bagh. Odisha FC also made a substitution at half time which raised some eyebrows when PedRo was withdrawn and replaced by Mauricio.

Just two minutes into the second half, the Juggernauts were awarded a penalty after Panwar was taken out in the box by Prasanth Karuthadathkuni. Mauricio stepped up to snatch it and slam it into the net to end his five-match scoring drought. Chennaiyin coach Tomas Prdarić’s protests on the touchline earned him a yellow card.

But his team fell behind by an hour. Shortly after penalty requests were denied, Ajith Kumar curled a shot into the box from the right before Petar Sliskovic headed it in and Khayat fired his first goal with a calm finish.

In the 89th minute, Saul brought down Crespo Hakamanishi inside the penalty area and the referee indicated the point scored by El Khayat to equalize from the penalty spot. The joy was short-lived as Odisha FC regained the lead through Sekar, who pounced on a loose ball that came after Jerry’s run was thwarted in the last third.

The win raises Odisha from fifth to third place with 15 points with Mumbai City. The Juggernauts will remain at Kalinga Stadium for their next match against North East United on December 2, Friday. Chennaiyin FC remains seventh, sandwiched between the two Kolkata teams. They return to the Marina Arena to host FC Hyderabad on December 3rd, Saturday.

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