Odisha edged Madhya Pradesh 3-2 — all five goals coming in a frantic last 30 minutes — in the second Group A quarterfinal league match in the 67th Santosh Trophy at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium here on Saturday.
Amidst all the comedy of errors, Odisha ran out deserving winners after dominating much of the possession. Substitute Sanjit Panna scored the decider on time after MP had twice cancelled out Odisha’s lead. Panna was fortunate that his attempted shot on goal sneaked past the MP keeper Ishwar Prasad after taking a deflection off defender Khangembam Gobin Singh.
The match came to life in the second half as Odisha grabbed the lead through substitute striker Abhimany Pandey in the 62nd minute. Pandey broke clear off MP’s off-side trap to round the keeper and place the ball into an empty net. MP, who could not get much leeway in midfield, resorted to hopeful long passes and shots from distance. One such seemingly innocuous attempt, from Phurba in the 67th minute, soared above a hopelessly positioned goalkeeper S K Kamaluddin and dipped into the net to bring about a surprise equaliser.
Odisha got back their lead on 79 minutes as forward Mohammad Ehsan Khan burst through a perplexed rival backline to beat the keeper with an angular drive. Within three minutes, it was even again. This time though, MP striker Javed Manihar fired in a sharp right-footer from around 25 yards that settled into the top corner. The very next minute, Khan had the ball in the net but was ruled off side.
All through the period, marking was nearly non-existent as the ball was shunted aimlessly back and forth. However, Odisha had the last laugh as substitute Sanjit Panna, fortunately, found the winning goal.
In Group C matches on Sunday, hosts Kerala meet Uttar Pradesh under the lights, while Haryana play Jammu and Kashmir in the first match of the day.