Pedro Martin at Odisha FC: Is it time for the Spaniard to lead the attacking front?

Odisha FC have been piling the pressure on their opponents given the quality of their performances this season. The Juggernauts have managed to win four out of the six games that they have played in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season so far.

The return of head coach Josep Gombau has received a healthy response by fans and pundits alike, and the Spaniard has hit the ground running within no time, making a successful return with his attacking brand of football led by some fresh faces, some experienced players, and some old-timers.

Having won three of their games from losing positions, Gombau’s men have been nothing short of impressive when it comes to the fighting spirit of the team. However, the Bhubaneswar-based side have failed to score first in five of their six matches, meaning the side hasn’t been able to take the game to the opposition half and secure the first goal advantage.

The side have scored ten goals so far in the league, shared amongst five goalscorers in Pedro Martin (3), Jerry Mawihmingthanga (2), Nandhakumar Sekar (2), Diego Mauricio (2), Isaac Chhakchhuak (1).

Out of the five players, four have been regular starters while one - Pedro Martin has come off the bench in each of his six Hero ISL appearances for Odisha FC this season. Notably, Pedro has been the highest scoring player for them this season so far and has been the most effective attacking player in the team. The Spaniard has come to the rescue when it mattered the most for his side, scoring three vital goals in crucial minutes building up to their win.

In the last match, Pedro Martin came off the bench for his side against East Bengal FC at half-time and turned the game around. He scored two quickfire second-half goals to help his side to their 3rd comeback win of the season. In just 199 minutes on the pitch, Martin has taken 11 shots out of which 7 have landed on target. No Odisha FC player has managed more shots on target. He has never spent more than 45 minutes in any of his 6 appearances this season.

In hindsight, Martin has been extremely clinical with his performances this season with the limited gametime that he has received. He has a goal conversion rate of 27.3%, the highest of any Odisha FC player in the Hero ISL 2022-23. Further, the forward has a knack of finding the target with more ease than any other Odisha FC player. The Spaniard has a shot accuracy of 63.6% in his six matches, again the highest of any player in the squad this season.

While he may or may not fit Gombau’s starting XI plans as of now, but Martin has shown his capabilities in a short span of time, and if he can do wonders with that, then a start for him in the teamsheet awaits not just for Odisha FC but the Hero ISL to welcome his Spanish delight.

Moreover, if Odisha FC are able to make the most out of the Spaniard’s intelligent attacking attributes then they can get firing across the attacking front alongside the likes of Diego Mauricio, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, and Nandhakumar Sekar. In a bid to break their winless streak in the last four Hero ISL matches over Chennaiyin FC, Martin - who has been the guardian angel for OFC - can lead the cavalry to victory with his magic.  

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