Talking Point: Can Marcelo Pereira return to form and inspire Odisha against mighty Mumbai City?

Mumbai City FC are set to take on Odisha FC in the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) in what will be Super Sunday’s first game. Sergio Lobera’s side come into the match on the back of two successive wins, while Stuart Baxter’s Odisha are yet to taste a win in their three matches so far. Ahead of the encounter at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim, let’s take a look at some of the factors that can impact the outcome of the contest in a significant way.

Mumbai’s attackers will look to continue from where they left off

Mumbai City FC, one of the best teams this season based on the strength of their squad, have finally started to come into their own after a couple of indifferent matches. After losing to NorthEast United FC and then winning by a solitary goal against FC Goa, Lobera’s men played just the way fans expect them to play in their match against SC East Bengal and ran amok with a 3-0 win. Adam le Fondre scored twice while Hernan Santana scored the third and last goal of the game. Hugo Boumous had a great game too and provided two assists to Mumbai’s cause. In light of Odisha’s defensive performance so far, Mumbai’s attackers must be itching to take the field and own another game.   

Odisha need Marcelo Pereira to fire more than ever before

More than the defence it’s the attacking department that Odisha need to look at. Marcelo Pareira has not been able to inspire the team so far having gone goalless and assist-less in their three matches. Fellow Brazilian Diego Mauricio, who came to the fore with two second-half goals against Jamshedpur FC and helped the team to a 2-2 draw, started the last game against ATK Mohun Bagan but couldn’t really make much of an impact. Odisha have failed to hit the back of the net twice in three matches and that is an alarming thing from their point of view. If this shortcoming is not addressed quickly, Odisha can’t hope to challenge a quality Mumbai City side high on confidence.

Defensive lapses can come back to haunt Odisha

Odisha have also conceded four goals in their three matches so far and are yet to register their first shut-out. In their last game against ATK Mohun Bagan they gave a good account of themselves in defence for the large part of the game, however, in the dying minutes they experienced a lapse in concentration and conceded a goal to give away all three points. Even in the match before against Jamshedpur FC they had conceded two first-half goals and needed heroics from Mauricio to avoid defeat. Baxter’s side need to address this aspect of their play too, the sooner they do it the better.


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