Away at Jamshedpur - a fitting start to Odisha FC's Hero ISL journey
Odisha FC are slated to play their first-ever Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) match on Tuesday when they face Jamshedpur FC away from home at the JRD TATA Sports Complex in Jamshedpur. While a home match would have been ideal to start off on their Hero ISL journey, playing against Jamshedpur away may just be the next best thing.
There's a special connection between Jamshedpur FC and Odisha when it comes to the Hero ISL. Back in the 2017-18 season, Jamshedpur FC's debut campaign in the competition, the Jharkhand-based outfit played their final home match of the season on 25th February, 2018, against Bengaluru FC at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar - the same venue which will serve as Odisha FC's home base in their debut campaign.
The tie was Odisha fans' first tryst with the Hero ISL and the unprecedented response, directly or indirectly, sowed the seeds for the state's future with the competition, which came to fruition with Odisha FC's incorporation in Hero ISL 2019-20, almost two years later. Hence, Odisha FC playing their first match against Jamshedpur FC in Jamshedpur can be seen as the culmination of Odisha's Hero ISL dreams, completing a full cycle.
Furthermore, with just over 350 kms separating Jamshedpur from the city of Bhubaneswar, the tie may just be the initiation of another great rivalry between teams from Eastern India.
The two sides also bear a lot of similarities, with two Spanish head coaches - Antonio Iriondo (Jamshedpur FC) and Josep Gombau (Odisha FC) at the helm and a host of their key players - Tiri, Piti, Noe Acosta, Aitor Monroy, Sergio Castel, Xisco Hernandez, Marcos Tebar, Aridane Santana, being Spanish by origin.
Another connect between the two teams will be Jerry Mawhmingthanga. The Mizo winger truly burst into the Hero ISL scene while playing for Jamshedpur FC in the 2017-18 season, and after two seasons with the Jharkhand-based club, will be lining up against his former club and teammates in the Odisha FC jersey on Tuesday.
Read the Match Preview here.