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A draw was a fair result at the end, as neither team deserved to score three points in the clash …
Odisha FC came agonizingly close to claiming their second win of the season against Bengaluru FC on Sunday, but failed to do so when Erik Paartalu bailed out the Blues in the 82nd minute with a draw and rescued them a point.
Both Odisha and Bengaluru had chances to score more goals, but were guilty of wasting opportunities to win the tie. In the end, the 1-1 draw was a fair result for both teams.
The Kalinga Warriors have improved a lot since their bad start to the season. They have gained confidence with each passing game in attack, but they still need to be more clinical up front. They have also been guilty of not closing matches every time they have advanced, especially as it happened on Sunday.
Diego Mauricio has been the club’s most outstanding player since the start of the season and is the club’s top scorer this year with seven goals in 13 games, but it is not possible for the Brazilian to just keep scoring and winning games without help. There needs to be more contribution from others.
Baxter has been deploying a more offensive 4-3-3 formation that has seen forwards Manuel Onwu and Daniel Lahlimpuia playing alongside Mauricio up front, but neither the Indian nor the Spaniard have found the back of the net this season. Onwu has not been anywhere near his form from last season, when he joined the club in January and scored a lot of goals.
Both have had opportunities to score against Bangalore, but have not been able to take advantage of them.
Another major problem Baxter faces is his defensive problems. The British coach has experimented a lot at the rear and has tried various combinations. Jacob Tratt used to initially start as Steven Taylor’s teammate in central defense, but the Australian defender today plays as a right back. Baxter has tested Gaurav Bora on defense at times, Rakesh Pradhan in the January transfer window with Hendry Antonay replaced on the left back.
However, Odisha continues to concede goals at crucial moments. They have leaked 20 goals, which is the second worst record at the moment after Kerala Blasters.
After the game, Baxter seemed exasperated with Odisha’s inability to hold onto the courts, saying: “I’m frustrated with a lot of things like our inability to put the game to bed, our inability to defend the full 90 minutes without making elementary mistakes. “The pieces decide a lot of games and that brought them (Bengaluru FC) back into the game. I was disappointed that we didn’t do a great job of not giving away silly free kicks and silly throws or corners. The team has to learn from it. We are playing well on a regular basis to win games, but we are not winning it. “
The British manager is correct in pointing out that his team is conceding stupid goals and is unable to finish games early despite having plenty of chances. The team is improving in every game, but they must show more stamina and finish the games if they want to finish the season in a respectable position.
Bengaluru FC are also facing problems in terms of converting the chances that became apparent on Sunday. They are showing intent in the attack, especially when trying to come back after a setback. But his biggest problem this season has been his defense. The Blues were always known for solid defensive organization. They were the best team in the league in the last two seasons in terms of defense and they weren’t notorious for filtering too many goals.
The Blues have tried various combinations in the heart of their bottom line, but they just can’t stop the leak. Sometimes they concede silly goals. His defensive woes haven’t helped Gurpreet Singh Sandhu in goal either. Sandhu, while making crucial saves, has had to deal with a bit more pressure than he is used to in the recent past.
Entering a crucial phase in the LIS, both Bengaluru and Odisha desperately need a couple of positive results.