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Odisha FC Edge Past Rajasthan United FC 2-1 in 132nd Durand Cup

Aphaoba Singh’s second half penalty and Chandra Mohan Murmu’s goals helped Odisha FC beat I-League side Rajasthan United FC 2-1 in a Group F fixture of the 132nd Durand Cup at the SAI Stadium, here on Friday.

Richardson Denzell scored the equaliser for Rajasthan after Murmu had given the lead for Odisha. Odisha and Rajasthan have three points each after completing two matches. Indian Army FT also has three points making Group F very interesting.

Rajasthan United FC head coach Pushpendur Kundu lined up his team in a 4-3-3 formation with Richardson Denzell leading the attack. He made one change to the starting lineup from the previous match with Surag Chhetri coming in for Raghav Gupta.

Odisha FC Head Coach Amit Rana made two changes to his starting lineup from the previous defeat to Indian Army with Rahul Mukhi and Chandra Mohan Murmu replacing Samir Kerketta and Raisen Tudu.

RUFC started the half on the front foot and created a chance in the very first minute. Lalchungnunga put in a cross from the left found Vanlalzahawma but the forward shot wide.

Odisha FC were looking better coordinated going forward. They had a golden opportunity to take the lead but were denied by a double save by Rajasthan keeper Sachin Jha. He first saved a shot from Kartik Hantal and the rebound fell for Pungte Lapung whose shot was also saved by the keeper.

Adwin Tirkey tested the keeper from distance as his shot just whisked past the post. Both teams had half chances to score but the final touch was missing as both teams went into the half with the score tied.

The stalemate was broken very early in the second half as Odisha drew first blood in the 48th minute. Adwin Tirkey’s corner was headed back into the danger area by Rahul Mukhi and it was finished expertly past the goalkeeper by Chandra Mohan Murmu.

Odisha’s lead stayed for just three minutes as Rajasthan responded immediately. Ghanaian Richardson Denzell struck a powerful shot from 30 yards out which ended in the back of the net through the hands of Odisha keeper Niraj Kumar. The match opened up after the goal as both teams looked to take the lead, leading to creation of chances.

Both of the goalkeepers were busy as they made some good saves to keep the scores level. Odisha were awarded a penalty as second half substitute Matthew Ofori Dunga fouled Rahul Mukhi inside the box. Aphaoba Singh converted the penalty to give the young Odisha side the lead.

Rajasthan went on the hunt for the equalizer but the youngsters from Odisha defended resiliently as the team from Jaipur were forced to attempt long distance shots. The best chance to equalize came from a corner which was deflected onto the post by Denzell.

The rebound fell for Dunga whose attempt was cleared off the line by Odisha captain Rakesh Oram with Denzel lurking behind to tap it in. Rajasthan had a golden opportunity to snatch the equalizer in the final seconds of injury time from a corner.

Odisha keeper missed the ball completely but Denzell who was waiting behind could only head it above the goal giving the young boys from Odisha their first win of the tournament.

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