Kalinga Super Cup semi-final: Holders Odisha FC face Mumbai City FC challenge
Both teams come into the semi-final with perfect records winning all three matches in the group stage.
Odisha FC’s defence of the Kalinga Super Cup will face a strong challenge from Mumbai City FC as the two sides meet in the second semi-final at the Kalinga stadium in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.
Both teams come into the semi-final with perfect records winning all three matches in the group stage. There is also little to choose between the two teams in the Indian Super League (ISL) as they sit one place and two points adrift. Odisha FC are third with 24 points from 12 matches while Mumbai City FC are fourth with 22 points from 11 matches.
The game between the two sides at the Kalinga stadium earlier in the season ended in a 2-2 draw and showed the quality that the two sides possess.
Lob-era loading at Odisha FC
The Kalinga Warriors have warmed up to new head coach Sergio Lobera and his methods and have reaped the rewards in recent times. They are unbeaten in 14 matches across all competitions and have won their last five matches. Their last defeat came way back in October with their last home defeat being in September.
💼 Back to business tomorrow as we take on #TheIslanders in a heavyweight clash at the Kalinga ⚔️🟣⚫️— Odisha FC (@OdishaFC) January 24, 2024
Watch the #KalingaSuperCup on JioCinema ▶️#OdishaFC #AmaTeamAmaGame #KalingaWarriors #MCFCOFC pic.twitter.com/iOpoB2HzUq
Odisha FC have scored 31 goals during this 14-match unbeaten run and have conceded just eleven goals during that period. Roy Krishna is the team’s top scorer but goals have come from all across the pitch with Ahmed Jahouh and Mourtada Fall also contributing along with Diego Mauricio.
The home side have adapted to Lobera’s methods and have forged themselves into a dominant team with plenty of flair on offer.
Resilient Mumbai City FC remain in the hunt
It’s been a tough season for Mumbai City FC with the team that dominated the league last year going through a period of transition. The Islanders lost ley players in Jahouh, Fall and Greg Stewart and also saw the departure of head coach Des Buckingham mid-season.
However, amid so much change, Mumbai City FC haven’t let the standards drop and remain in the hunt for the ISL Shield and are sure to offer Odisha FC a run for their money in the Kalinga Super Cup semi-final.
New head coach Petr Kratky has come in and managed to maintain the consistency that made Mumbai City FC deserving winners of the ISL League Shield last season.
Mumbai City FC have certainly tightened up at the back under Kratky conceding just six goals in eight matches under the new boss. They have also shown resilience, especially in the Kalinga Super Cup with the team coming back from a goal down to win games in stoppage time before edging Chennaiyin FC in a tightly-contested match.
The Islanders are missing several key players like Lalianzuala Chhangte, Lalengmawia Ralte, Mehtab Singh, Vikram Partap Singh and captain Rahul Bheke who were away on international duty with the Indian team at the AFC Asian Cup. But they have found players in Ayush Chikara who have stepped up to the plate.
The Odisha FC game will provide a litmus test for this young Mumbai City FC side.
The match will be streamed LIVE on Jio Cinema and will kick off at 7:30 PM IST on Thursday.