Odisha FC will take on Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Kings in their final Group D encounter in the AFC Cup at Bhubaneswar on Monday with their hopes of qualifying for the next round firmly in their own hands. 

The Kalinga Warriors need to beat the Group D leaders to leapfrog them in the table and advance to the Inter-Zone Semi-Final Playoff for the first time in their history. 

Sergio Lobera’s side is in good form and is unbeaten in their last six matches in all competitions and will look to rely on home advantage to get the desired result in this crunch game. 

The Bhubaneswar-based outfit trail the Kings by one point in Group D but have momentum after securing three successive victories in the competition including their incredible 5-2 win over Mohun Bagan Super Giant in the last match. 

All eyes will be on Diego Mauricio who is the team’s top scorer in the AFC Cup with three goals to his name. The Brazilian has a reputation of scoring in big matches having scored in each of their last two wins in the competition, while also finding the net in the reverse fixture. 

The Kings will be confident having gotten the better of Odisha FC in the earlier game which they won 3-2 in Dhaka. 

Coached by the former Mumbai City FC assistant head coach Oscar Bruzon, the Kings have been terrific in the AFC Cup since the opening match defeat to Maziya. The Bangladeshi outfit have only scored ten goals so far which is the third-best tally in the group but have the best defensive record with just nine goals conceded. 

Bruzon’s side are reliant on their Brazilian duo of Dorielton and Miguel Figuera who have both scored three goals apiece in the competition and will test Odisha FC’s defence that has leaked 12 goals in the AFC Cup so far. 

However, the Kalinga Warriors’ strength lies in their attack and are the group’s top scorers with 16 goals, averaging over three goals per game. Playing at home, they would back themselves to outscore any opponent with the likes of Mauricio and Roy Krishna in their ranks. 

Midfielder Ahmed Jahouh who scored his first-ever brace in the ISL against Mohun Bagan SG earlier this week will be key for Lobera’s side as he has the ability to control the match and set the tempo. He is having an exceptional season for the Kalinga Warriors in the ISL and will look to be a calming influence on his team in this crunch game. 

The game will kick off at 7:30 PM IST on Monday, December 11, 2023 at the Kalinga Stadium. The match will be shown Live on Sports18 and streamed Live on the FanCode app.