Match 15 Preview: Odisha in search of first win of the season against unbeaten ATK Mohun Bagan

Odisha FC have a tough game on their hands as they take on ATK Mohun Bagan in Match 15 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 at the Fatorda Stadium on Thursday. The Mariners have won both their matches this season keeping two consecutive clean sheets to boot, while Odisha are yet to register a win this season, having conceded three goals in two matches.

ATK Mohun Bagan have been thriving off their counter-attacking play with three goals in two games in what has been a perfect start to their Hero ISL campaign. The side has an average possession of 40% which is the joint-least by a team while their average passes per match of 237.5 is also the lowest by a team this season. In addition to this, the Mariners have a passing accuracy of 59.15, the lowest for any team in Hero ISL 2020-21.

Despite their underwhelming passing and possession statistics, ATK Mohun Bagan have scored all their three goals from open play. Their shot accuracy of 30% is the 4th best in Hero ISL 2020-21 and their goal conversion rate of 15% is the 3rd best this campaign.

ATK Mohun Bagan also have one of the tightest defences this season. The Kolkata giants have allowed only two shots on target this season, having faced 24 shots in two matches. This can be put down to the immense experience in their backline, with Sandesh Jhingan, Pritam Kotal and Tiri boasting a total of 229 Hero ISL appearances.

"We have to continue winning matches, this is the idea. The players are very confident and are professionals. We want to win the matches and not think about our position on the table. Odisha have a good coach with a fantastic CV. It will be a good match,” ATKMB head coach Antonio Lopez Habas said in the pre-match press conference.

Odisha FC, on the other hand, will look to get their first win of the season but in light of the might of their opposition on Thursday, Stuart Baxter’s side will have to play out of their skin to get maximum points. Winless this season, Odisha have struggled defensively, conceding three goals, two from penalties and one from a defensive mistake. The Bhubaneswar-based club have conceded 29 shots in two matches, which is the joint most by a team this season.

Their woes up front were also on display against Jamshedpur FC in their previous game, with their main creator Marcelo Pereira looking completely out of sorts. Fellow countryman Diego Mauricio however came off the bench and scored twice to rescue a point for his side against JFC.

In comparison to Mauricio’s eight shots, Marcelo has just taken two shots so far. Mauricio’s eight shots are the highest for the Odisha team and four of these are from inside the box which shows that the 29-year-old forward has been taking good positions as well. While Marcelo is certain to make the starting XI in light of his great Hero ISL exploits in the past, Manuel Onwu could be replaced by Mauricio as a starter.

“Diego had a massive impact when he came on in the last game. Manuel [Onwu] plays very well with the other players. In my mind, I need to decide whether I start with Diego or Manuel. That is a call I have to make,” Baxter said ahead of the game.

SQUADS

ATK Mohun Bagan

Goalkeepers: Arindam Bhattacharja, Dheeraj Singh, Avilash Paul, Arsh Shaikh, Aryan Niraj Lamba

Defenders: Tiri, Pritam Kotal, Prabir Das, Sandesh Jhingan, Subhasish Bose, Sumit Rathi

Midfielders: Pronay Halder, Bradden Inman, Javier Hernandez, Edu Garcia, Carl McHugh, Glan Martins, Jayesh Rane, Michael Soosairaj, Boris Singh, Regin Michael, Sahil Sheikh, N Engson Singh

Forwards: David Williams, Roy Krishna, Manvir Singh, Md. Fardin Ali Molla

Odisha FC

Goalkeepers: Arshdeep Singh, Kamaljit Singh, Ravi Kumar, Ankit Bhuyan

Defenders: Steven Taylor, Saurabh Meher, Gaurav Bora, Kamalpreet Singh, Mohd Sajid Dhot, George D’Souza, Shubham Sarangi, Jacob, Hendry Antonay

Midfielders: Baoringdao Bodo, Cole Alexander, Isak Vanlalruatfela, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, S Lalhrezuala, Nandhakumar Sekar, Paul Ramfangzauva, Samuel Lalmuanpuia, Vinit Rai, Thoiba Singh

Forwards: Diego Mauricio, Manuel Onwu, Daniel Lalhlimpuia, Laishram Singh, Marcelo Pereira

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 15: ATK Mohun Bagan vs Odisha FC

Date: December 3 (Thursday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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