Indian Super League (ISL) side Odisha FC will be up against Bangladesh's Bashundhara Kings in the second group stage game of the AFC Cup 2023-24 at the Kings Arena in Dhaka on Monday.

Sergio Lobera’s side suffered a heavy defeat in the opening match against Mohun Bagan Super Giant. They will be keen to bounce back from their opening loss and remain confident in their abilities to make it past the group stage.

For Odisha FC, who are making their debut in the continental competition this season, the match against Bashundhara Kings presents an opportunity for redemption and a chance to showcase their potential in the AFC Cup.

The team from Bangladesh is also coming off a defeat in their opening group-stage match against Maziya and playing at their home ground. The supporters' backing will also provide a massive boost for them as they aim to open their account in the AFC Cup on Monday.

Since their defeat to the Mariners, the Juggernauts have recovered well and currently sit third in the ISL group standings with four points from two games.

“Hopefully, we will enjoy the match, and hopefully, we will win it. We lost the first game in the AFC Cup. The second game is important to get three points to keep our chances alive to progress in this competition,” Lobera said ahead of the clash.

In-form Mohun Bagan Super Giant host Maziya S&RC

In the second match of the day, Mohun Bagan Super Giant will host Maziya S&RC in their second AFC Cup 2023-24 group stage match at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Monday.

Having recorded a 4-0 victory over Odisha FC in the opening match of the AFC Cup, the Mariners will now look to build on that momentum and do everything possible to secure all three points. Juan Ferrando’s side are coming into this fixture on the back of two successive wins in the ISL against Punjab FC and Bengaluru FC.

Their opponent, Maziya S&RC, has also secured a massive win in the opening game of the AFC Cup group stage against Bashundhara Kings with a scoreline of 3-1. The Mariners understand the importance of the match, and a win in this fixture will put them in a favourable position in the group standings. However, Ferrando doesn’t want to take their opponent lightly, especially given the performances Maziya has put in during their recent fixtures.

“This match is special because Maziya won their last game. We’ll try to do our best and get the three points. It’ll be an interesting match tomorrow, and it won’t be easy, but we’ll fight for the three points,” Ferrando said in the pre-match press conference.

It was a completely one-sided affair when the two sides met in the AFC Cup group stages last season as the Mariners thumped the Maldivian side 5-2. However, Ferrando has cautioned his side not to be too complacent against their opponent, as the Spaniard believes Maziya is a completely different side right now and poses a much greater threat.

“They have improved a lot. Their last match against us is in the past. If you remember that, the first and second goals were mistakes in the opponent's build-up. They have improved in this aspect and don’t take risks. They are totally different from last season because they’re improving the quality of their local players. Their plan is different than last time. They are more comfortable with the ball, and more aggressive in the attack, and we need to control the details in these aspects. This is a big stadium, so when you give them space, it can be dangerous for us,” said the Mariners' head coach.