Roy Krishna’s second-half brace helped Odisha FC beat Kerala Blasters 2-1 and secure three points at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar in the Indian Super League 2023-24 on Friday.

Dimitrios Diamantakos, the league’s leading goal-scorer, bagged his 10th strike of the season by tapping in a cross by Nihal Sudeesh in the 10th minute of the encounter. The Greek forward picked from where he had left off in the opening leg of the campaign, demonstrating some ruthless efficiency to slot home his shot.

Odisha have been one of the defensively solid sides this year, but the Ivan Vukomanovic-coached Blasters has functioned as a seamlessly creative unit quite often this season. This offensive endeavour of theirs was another testament of the same, with the two-striker formation coming to the fore nicely and unlocking the Odisha backline in style.

However, it was the Juggernauts’ game from there on, with each member of their attacking contingent taking shots in drawing the scores level. Lalthathanga Khawlhring, better known as Puitea, tried his luck from outside the 18-yard box in the 20th minute, but Sachin Suresh saved it to keep their lead intact.

The second half belonged to Krishna, who at 36, continues to be of the most efficient strikers in the competition. In the 53rd minute, Moroccan midfielder Ahmed Jahouh delivered a curling, accurate cross to the Fijian who was stationed merely a few yards away from Sachin. He outmanoeuvred the Kerala Blasters FC defence to put the ball past the goalkeeper.

With that goal, Krishna became the second player after Bart Ogbeche and Sunil Chhetri to net 50 goals in the Indian Super League.

Fullback Amey Ranawade sensed a similar opportunity, sprinting up ahead on the right flank, before sliding in a well-directed pass for Krishna. The ex-Bengaluru FC striker jumped and nodded the ball in to secure the lead.

Both sides had chances to score but Amrinder Singh in the Odisha goal and Sachin pulled off a couple of good saves.

With 27 points, Odisha have climbed above the Blasters (26) into second position.