A brilliant Manuel Onwu hat-trick helped was not enough for Odisha FC to end their Indian Super League (ISL) season with a win as Bartholomew Ogbeche scored twice from the spot in the closing moments of the game to force a 4-4 draw.
Onwu (1', 36', 52'), Narayan Das (6' OG), Messi Bouli (28'), Martin Perez Guedes (44'), and Ogbeche (82', 90+4') were on the scoresheet in what was an entertaining goalfest.
The game got off to a blitzing start, with Onwu providing his side with the lead in the first minute. Jerry Mawihmingthanga sent a lofted pass into the striker's path inside the box. Onwu got there just ahead of Raju Gaikwad and headed it past Bilal.
Kerala hit back almost immediately. They worked the ball into Odisha's defensive third after a string of very good passes. Bartholomew Ogbeche set up Messi for a cross on the right flank. The Cameroonian's driven cross was met by Narayan, who got there ahead of Sahal Abdul Samad. But the Odisha defender put it into the back of his own net to make it 1-1.
Messi then registered his name on the scoresheet with a spectacular take and finish after he was found by Jessel Carneiro's inch-perfect cross-field ball.
But the visitors could only protect the lead for seven minutes. Manuel Onwu scored from a stunning free-kick from 25 yards out. The Spaniard hit it with power and precision to find the top corner past the outstretched arms of Bilal Khan.
Onwu later won his side a penalty after being brought down by Gaikwad inside the box. Perez Guedes found the bottom corner from the spot-kick that followed to make it 3-2 before half-time.
The home side started the second half with the same momentum in which they ended the first. Onwu was handed an opportunity to complete his hat-trick from the dead ball after Bilal Khan was penalised for handling the ball outside the area. The Spaniard struck firmly into a gap between the wall to make it 4-2.
Odisha were then presented with a couple of opportunities to get a fifth. But with Xisco Hernandez's shot striking the crossbar and Nandha Kumar hitting the post, the scoreline remained unchanged, promising a thrilling conclusion.
Shubham Sarangi conceded a penalty in the 82nd minute after bringing down Ogbeche in the area. The Nigerian fired it into the top corner make it 4-3 with less than 10 minutes to play.
Kerala won a free-kick at about 30 yards out deep into injury time after Carlos Delgado was penalised for a foul on Messi. Jessel Carneiro chip into the box was met by Ogbeche's attempt to dink it over the keeper. But Dorronsoro got off his line to make the save, bringing down Ogbeche in the process. The referee pointed at the spot for the third time on the night and the Nigerian attacker got his brace through a well-taken spot-kick aimed at the bottom corner.
Odisha did enough to get all three points and were unlucky to hit the woodwork twice. But lapses in concentration in the dying moments of the game cost them the two points that would have taken them above Mumbai City FC in the league table.