Durand Cup: Odisha power six past NEUFC in Group D opener
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma shakes hands with the Odisha FC players before the start of the Group D opener of the Durand Cup match in Guwahati on Wednesday.

GUWAHATI: In a clinical and professional display, Josep Gombau’s Odisha FC powered six goals past North East United FC in Assam’s first ever Durand Cup match at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here on Wednesday evening.

For Odisha, Jerry Mawihmingthanga started the goal rush in as early as the 14th minute to finish with a brace by adding another goal in the 37th minute.

Others who hit the net included Nandhakumar Sekar (25th minute), Isak (81st minute)’, Diego Mauricio (87th minute) and Thoiba Singh (90th minute) to wind up a good day in office in stark contrast to the Highlanders who were left high and dry.

The damage had been done in the first-half for Subam Rabha’s rebuilding side by the trio of Jerry, Nandhakumar Sekar and Spanish midfielder Pedro Martin primarily.

Odisha were on the attack from the initial stages itself barring a couple of early forays by the Highlanders.

Had it not been for the good game Nikhil Deka had under the bar, the damage could have been far greater for the Highlanders.

The 131st Indian Oil Durand Cup is being supported in Assam by the state government.

Earlier, chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma led the ceremonial opening on the historic occasion of the first-ever Durand Cup match in Assam.

The ceremony also included an armed forces band display as well as a stellar performance of the tournament theme song by star singers Papon and Rewben Mashangwa.

The ceremony concluded with the playing of the FIFA theme song and introduction of dignitaries with the players and their photos with the teams and the Trophies.

NEUFC will now play the Army Green on August 21while Odisha FC will take a six-day break to come back on the August 23 to play the Kerala Blasters.

Also read | No leniency to anyone trying to disrupt recruitment process: Assam CM

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