Chennaiyin FC suffered a 0-2 loss against Odisha FC in their opening match of the Indian Super League 2023-24 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.

Jerry Mawihmingthanga scored the opening goal of the match in the 44th minute while Diego Mauricio (62nd) added the second goal for Odisha FC.

Chennaiyin FC created several goal-scoring opportunities but missed the finishing touch. One of such chances came in the 21st minute when Rafael Crivellaro’s strike was blocked by the opponent goalkeeper from the close distance. The visitors had almost opened their account in the 43rd minute but Connor Shields couldn’t manage to convert a brilliant cross from Aakash Sangwan. Later, Farukh Choudhary’s header went over the bar six minutes before the end.

“I think Odisha took the chances. My lads were excellent today, out with giving those mistakes away. We need to get better; we need to make sure that we’re cutting out the errors and we’re clinical at the other end. And if we do that, it will see us winning a lot of games, that’s for sure. We already look as if we’re a good team. In terms of the goal chances, we certainly had far more than what Odisha had,” Chennaiyin head coach Owen Coyle commented after the match.

Earlier, both sides continued their hunt for the opener relentlessly after a short interval due to rain. Chennaiyin goalkeeper Samik Mitra denied Odisha the lead in the 23rd minute with a brilliant save to keep out Isak Vanlalruatfela’s left-footed shot from the centre of the box.

However, Mawihmingthanga put the hosts in the lead just before the half-time whistle when he guided Amey Ranawade pass to the bottom left corner with a left-footed strike.

Odisha doubled their lead in the 62nd minute with Mauricio getting his name on the scoresheet.

Chennaiyin will next face NorthEast United FC in their second game of the season in Guwahati on September 29 while Odisha are scheduled to play a home game against Mumbai City FC on September 28.

Mohun Bagan defeat Punjab FC

Mohun Bagan Super Giant delighted the home crowd at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata with an enthralling 3-1 victory over Indian Super League debutants Punjab FC to round off an entertaining double header on Saturday.

The Mariners’ Australian attacking duo of Jason Cummings and Dimitri Petratos scored a goal apiece in the first half before Punjab’s Slovenian forward Luka Majcen pulled one back in the 53rd minute.

However, just as it appeared that Staikos Vergetis’ men would storm back into the proceedings, Manvir Singh tapped one in from a few yards out thanks to some brilliant link up by their frontline to squander any hopes of a comeback for the away team.

juan Ferrando’s men, fresh from their title-winning Durand Cup run, looked like a well-coordinated unit right from kick-off. Asish Rai raced ahead on the right flank and cut back in a pass to Sahal Abdul Samad inside the box. The attacking midfielder couldn’t get enough power behind the shot but Cummings was at the right spot at the right time to net his debut goal in the ISL.

Cummings donned an all-round role in the forward line. He dropped back and played a terrific and incisive pass through the Punjab backline to land at Liston Colaco’s feet in the 35th minute. The winger couldn’t finish the move but Petratos lapped up the rebound to bag the team’s second goal of the night.

Punjab didn’t give up and came out with renewed spirit and enthusiasm in the second essay of the game. They pressed high up on the field and bore the fruits of the same by forcing the Mohun Bagan midfield into committing a defensive error.

Glan Martins was compelled into making a back pass but he mistakenly ended up playing a through ball to Majcen. The 34-year-old, who was the highest goal-scorer in the I-League last year with 16 strikes, calmly slotted the ball behind Vishal Kaith to reduce Punjab’s deficit.

However, Ferrando’s side got their act together as Petratos shifted wide on the left flank to collect a through ball and square up a pass for Manvir. He capitalised upon the chance by getting at the end of the delivery to notch his team’s third goal and thereby secure their three points from the game.