Odisha FC made a strong case for play-off qualification with a 2-1 victory over Hyderabad FC in the Indian Super League encounter, in Hyderabad, on Wednesday.
Marcelinho gave the hosts an early lead, scoring in the first miute, but Aridane Santana (15th and 45th minute) netted a brace to help the visitors complete a comeback.
With this fourth win on the trot, Odisha are fourth on the table with 21 points from 13 matches and a five-point advantage over fifth-placed Mumbai City, who have a game in hand. Hyderabad remain at the bottom with five points.
Hyderabad broke the deadlock within seconds from the start. The move started with Bobo playing a diagonal pass to Nestor Gordillo on the right flank. The Spanish winger crossed towards the far post only for Nikhil Poojary, who forced a save off Francisco Dorronsoro. The rebound fell perfectly for Marcelinho, who tapped home the fastest goal of the ISL this season.
Odisha recovered from the early shock to take control of the midfield. Their first chance fell for Xisco Hernandez, whose first-time strike from the edge of the box off Santana's lay-off flew wide of the goal.
The visitors soon found an equalizer, amidst total chaos inside the box. Shubham Sarangi's long throw-in found Carlos Delgado inside the box but his shot was saved by the goalkeeper. The rebound was converted by Santana, with Dimple Bhagat picking up a yellow card for trying to stop the ball from going in with his hand.
The hosts were handed a gift when Nestor's shot from inside the box hit Sarangi's arm and the referee pointed at the spot. However, Bobo's strike from 12 yards was kept out by Dorronsoro.
Odisha were awarded a penalty when Dimple Bhagat fouled Santana. The Spaniard converted the resultant penalty to make it 2-1.
I-League: Gokulam Kerala thrash East Bengal
East Bengal paid a heavy price for defensive lapses, going down to Gokulam Kerala 1-3 ahead of Sunday's I-League derby, in Kalyani on Wednesday.
Playing without centre-back Borja Gomez, East Bengal conceded their first goal in the 21st minute when an unmarked Henry Kisekka cut in from the edge of the box to slot it past goalkeeper Lalthuamawia Ralte.
The red-and-gold brigade conceded a second with an own goal as Marti Crespi, in the 45+1st minute, while trying to clear a Marcus Joseph shot.
Their defensive woes continued as Kerala's star forward Marcus Joseph sealed the issue after being set up by Kisekka in the 65th minute with defender Asheer Akhtar and Ralte caught napping.
East Bengal's solitary goal came in the 27th minute when Kassim Aidara slotted it home from a rebound off the post.
The hosts are missing their 31-year-old Spaniard who has returned home to be with his family as his younger son is suffering from a serious ailment.
For East Bengal, this was their second successive defeat, ahead of Sunday's much-anticipated derby clash against arch-rivals Mohun Bagan.
East Bengal lost to Churchill Brothers away in their last outing as they now have eight points from six matches to be placed behind Gokulam Kerala who climbed to fourth with 10 points from six outings.