Talking Point: Kerala Blasters or Odisha FC, who will come out on top in clash of fragile defences?

Odisha FC will be eying just their second win in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 when they face Kerala Blasters FC at the Fatorda Stadium on Thursday. The Bhubaneswar-based club won their reverse fixture against Kerala after falling behind and they will be eager to secure another win to end a run of six winless games. Kerala, on the other hand, will be keen on a win themselves to snap their four-match winless run and will want to prevent Odisha completing the double over them this season. Here’s a look at some of the talking points ahead of the clash between the teams.

Two struggling defences

Both sides have struggled to keep clean sheets this season and have let in plenty of goals. The last encounter between the teams was also a high-scoring fixture as Odisha emerged triumphant following a 4-2 win. Tuesday’s clash also has all the makings of another match with plenty of goals with the two worst defensive teams in the league going toe-to-toe. Kerala have conceded more goals (27) than any side in the league and are closely followed by an Odisha team that has let in 25 goals so far. Odisha need to be particularly careful while defending set-pieces having conceded 11 times from such situations so far.

Going in front doesn’t guarantee a Kerala win

The Blasters have dropped more points than any other team after taking the lead in Hero ISL 2020-21. Kerala, in fact, have dropped more points from winning positions (16) than the points (15) that they’ve secured in the standings so far. Their last two games against Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan also saw them go ahead before losing and that was also the case in their encounter against Odisha earlier in the campaign. The 16 points that they’ve lost from winning positions is by far the most by a team this season with the likes of Hyderabad FC, Bengaluru FC and SC East Bengal next on the list having dropped seven points each from such situations.

Odisha domestic players haven’t scored this season

Odisha have just three individuals that have found the back of the net for them this season and none of them are domestic players. Along with SC East Bengal, Odisha are the only side in the league that does not have an Indian goal-scorer so far. They have seven assists from Indian players which is the second highest in the league but need the likes of Jerry Mawihmingthanga and Nandhakumar Sekar to score a few goals. Goal-scoring contributions from Odisha’s domestic talents will also ease the overreliance on Diego Mauricio, who is the club’s top-scorer with seven goals in the ongoing campaign.

 

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