Goals from Pyari Xaxa and S Lynda Kom guided Odisha FC to a hard-fought victory against Gokulam Kerela FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.

The win against the defending champions has helped Odisha FC move above Kickstart FC to the top of the table on goal difference.

Odhisha FC’s performance on their home soil wasn’t as easy as the scoreline looked in the end. The visitors put on a stellar performance and dominated ball possession in midfield throughout the match but it was the finishing that let Gokulam Kerala down.

While they failed to convert from their ten shots on target, Odisha FC were lethal in front of the goal as they scored two from the seven shots they had on target.

The player that made the difference was Shreya Hooda, with her quick reflexes in front of goal to keep the scores level in the early stages of the first half. She denied the Gokulam forwards numerous times as they stacked up twelve shots in the first-half.

All the pressure from Gokulam proved to be much ado about nothing when Xaxa guided the ball in the net from a brilliant cross from Jasoda from the left flank to give Odisha the lead in the 32nd minute of the game.

Win Theingi Tun could have extended the lead for the hosts in the 38th minute, but her shot fizzled past the post for a goal kick. The Myanmar international had earlier squandered a wonderful opportunity to give Odisha the lead in the 24th minute when she missed a one-on-one sitter against the Gokulam goalkeeper.

The second half was no different as Gokulam continued to pile on the pressure right from the start. But all this pressure was weathered by a stout defensive performance for Odisha. Gokulam had their chances but it was the lack of clinical finishing in front of goal that haunted them throughout the match.

In the 82nd minute, the substitute Lynda Kom put the game to bed by scoring the second goal for Odisha to secure the win.