The 24-year-old Mizo winger scored his double in a span of a blistering seven minutes of second half and Aridai Suarez and super-sub Jonathas de Jesus scored one apiece for Odisha while Ahmed Jahouh and Igor Angulo scored for the Islanders in a match which saw end-to-end action throughout.
And if Mumbai were the better side in the first half barring the initial setback, Odisha take the game to their opponents after the breather which crumbled Des Buckinghams’ league leaders and left their defence in tatters in the last 30 minutes of the game. With the win, Odisha stayed on the seventh spot with 13 points from nine games and snapped their four-match winless streak in the first match of the new year.
Odisha took the lead just four minutes into the match aided by a sloppy work from Mumbai goalkeeper Mohammad Nawaz. Back in action after serving his suspension, Mumbai centre-back Mourtada Fall gave the ball away to Javi Hernandez who played Suarez near the left corner of the box before the Spanish striker took aim with his right-foot. But Nawaz could have done way better than let it slip under him and roll into the net.
Mumbai City didn’t take long to regroup after the early blooper. In the 11th minute, they deservingly drew parity with Jahouh scoring with a curler from outside the area. Odisha defenders paid the price for leaving space around the area for their much-fancied opponents as Cassio Gabriel laid it perfectly for Jahouh across the area before his strike hit the inside of the right post and shook the net giving Odisha keeper Kamaljit Singh absolutely no chance.
Thereafter came barrages of Mumbai attack but Odisha defence, led by Hector Rodas and Victor Mongil at the centre, managed to hold fort until the 38th minute.
This time, the Islanders’ Spanish striker Angulo wrote his name on the scoresheet heading home a Jahouh free-kick from quite a distance. This was Angulo’s eighth goal of the season, equaling Bartholomew Ogbeche’s tally on top of the scorers’ list.
Going into the break with their nose ahead, it looked like Mumbai City would be ready for an encore after the break. Instead, Odisha returned a lot with intent and kept their opponents under pressure with lovely buildup play but had to wait until the 70th minute to level the scoreline.
It was winger Jerry who nodded home going down a Nadhakumar Sekar cross from the left touchline. Seven minutes later, Odisha wrestled back the lead riding on the double from a lively Jerry. This time Jonathas assisted the diminutive winger from near the D before Jerry blasted his right-footer across the face of Nawaz into the top left corner of the net to send their suspended coach Kiko Ramirez, in the stands, into jubilation.
Just as Mumbai’s search for the equalizer continued with a gritty Odisha backline and an ever-alert Kamaljit holding their act together, the Juggernauts put the scoreline beyond Mumbai’s reach. Jerry returned the favour to Jonathas with a perfect cross from right taking his marker on, and the Brazilian just had to guide home from close range to seal the deal.