In what turned out to be a clinical and professional performance in the end, Josep Gombau’s confident Odhisa FC (OFC) rode on a first half-brace, which included three team strikes in 23 minutes, by Jerry Mawihmingthanga, to run out comfortable 6-0 winners against NorthEast United FC (NEUFC), in Assam’s first ever Durand Cup game at Guwahati’s Indira Gandhi Athletic stadium on Wednesday.
The first game of Group D meandered a little in the second half but with Isak’s late strike lightening it up, Odhisa put in another three-goal blitz in nine minutes to complete half a dozen.
The damage had been done in the first half for Subam Rabha’s rebuilding side by the trio of Jerry, Nandhakumar Sekar and Spanish midfielder Pedro Martin primarily. The end just put an authoritative stamp on a story which had been written much before.
Had it not been for the good game that Nikhil Deka had under the bar for the Highlanders, the damage could have been far greater.
Odhisa were on the attack from the initial stages itself barring a couple of early forays by the Highlanders. Jerry opened the scoring in the 14th minute, concluding with a fine finish to a well-worked out team move. Eleven minutes later the Juggernaut’s keeper Lalthuammawia Ralte got into the act with an accurate throw-out across the field to find Nandhakumar on the left. The Salem lad showed a bit of trickery to take out two defenders before nailing a shot in the top corner.
Jerry got his second a few minutes later, getting at the end of a Raynier, Pedro, Nadha move to put the game at rest.
Odhisa came out comfortable in the second half with the natural inclination of asking NEUFC to make the play but their opponents were not in it on the day. Gombau brought out his substitutes and all three responded with goals showing the hunger in the team.
Isak it was first with a brilliant header off a Nandha corner and then Diego Mauricio with a wonder free-kick, before Thoiba Singh in the final minute of the game tapped the six to make it a day to forget for the Highlanders.