Goa welcome Odisha as the visitors target closing top-four gap
FC Goa will be looking to strengthen their position in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20’s top four when they host Odisha FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Sunday. The Gaurs beat ATK FC in their last outing and will know that another win will help them consolidate their spot in the top four. Odisha, on the other hand, will also be confident as they head into the contest on the back of a 3-2 win against Hyderabad FC.
With most of their players injury and suspension-free, FC Goa look like a dangerous proposition and one that no side would want to face, as high-flying ATK found out. The return of talisman Ferran Corominas from injury adds a whole new dimension to their game despite all 11 individuals being capable of scoring. Brandon Fernandes has been their chief playmaker and has provided five assists so far – the most by any player in the league this season. Hugo Boumous and Lenny Rodrigues have also played crucial roles in midfield and will be looking to boss the centre of the park.
At the back, Carlos Pena and Mourtada Fall seem to have developed a solid understanding, making the Gaurs’ backline much less fragile than that of past seasons. They are also threats in the opposition box and have been on the scoresheet already this campaign. Their fullbacks Seriton Fernandes and Mandar Rao Dessai will be entrusted to add width to Goa’s play, while the likes of Manvir Singh and Seiminlen Doungel will eye making impacts from the bench as they’ve done in the recent past.
Odisha, meanwhile, will be aware that a loss to Goa will cast them further adrift of the top four positions, making it imperative for them to not lose the tie at the very least. Josep Gombau’s men have had a topsy-turvy season so far but will be confident in their ability to take something from the clash. Aridane Santana, Xisco Hernandez and Jerry Mawihmingthanga have been their three most important attacking outlets, and they’ll definitely need to have a good game if Odisha want to take something from the match.
Keeping Goa quiet at the other end, though, comes as a completely different type of challenge given the nature of the hosts’ unrelenting attacks in front of their home fans, in particular. Odisha have conceded 11 times already but have shown that they have what it takes to keep a clean sheet. To do so against the Gaurs, their centre-back pairing of Diawandou Diagne and Carlos Delgado need to be on the top of their game, while also hoping the rest of their teammates don’t make any match-defining errors. In midfield, Marcos Tebar will have his work cut out for him in the absence of Vinit Rai, who will miss the game due to suspension.
FC Goa: Mohammad Nawaz (GK), Carlos Pena, Mourtada Fall, Seriton Fernandes, Mandar Rao Dessai, Hugo Boumous, Brandon Fernandes, Lenny Rodrigues, Jackichand Singh, Ferran Corominas, Ahmed Jahouh
Odisha FC: Arshdeep Singh (GK), Shubham Sarangi, Carlos Delgado, Narayan Das, Marcos Tebar, Diawandou Diagne, Aridane Santana, Xisco Hernandez, Nandhakumar Sekar, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Bikramjit Singh
Did you know?
- FC Goa have scored nine goals from set-pieces – most by any team in the division so far.
- Odisha have scored five goals from crosses – joint-most in the league so far.
- All four of Aridane Santana’s goals have come away from home.
Can Goa thwart Odisha’s challenge and make it to the top of the league standings?
Live broadcast schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 44: FC Goa vs Odisha FC
Time: 7:30 PM onwards, December 22
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV