Match 24 Preview: Can Odisha FC return to winning ways against upbeat NorthEast United FC?

Odisha FC will be up against NorthEast United FC on matchday 24 of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season on Friday at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco da Gama, Goa.

Odisha FC began their season strongly, winning two of their opening matches before falling short against Kerala Blasters FC in their last game.

On the other hand, NorthEast United FC are slowly gaining momentum after their first win of the season against FC Goa in their latest game after an underwhelming start to the season.

Form Guide

Odisha FC
The Bhubaneshwar-based side are fourth in the league table with six points. Kiko Ramirez’s side won their first two games: against Bengaluru FC (3-1) and SC East Bengal (6-4), and lost against Kerala Blasters FC (2-1) in their latest game.

NorthEast United FC
Khalid Jamil’s men registered their first win of the season which came against FC Goa in a 2-1 win in their latest game. The Highlanders’ didn’t have the best of the starts to the season as they lost two of their first three games: against Bengaluru FC (4-2) and Chennaiyin FC (2-1), and drew one: against Kerala Blasters FC (0-0). They find themselves ninth-placed in the league table with four points.

Head-to-Head Record
Both sides have met each other on four occasions in the past, with NorthEast United FC ending up on the winning side twice while Odisha FC winning once, and the remaining fixture ending in a draw.

Team News

From the Odisha FC camp, Jonathas Cristian is still being monitored after he sustained an injury last week and are now awaiting medical team’s confirmation to bring him to the side.

As you know, we had muscle injuries last week because after speaking with the medical team, we decided not to call him in the squad.

“For this game, he is improving, he is getting better, he is going to the training. We need to wait until the medical team decides if he is okay to join the team or not. It is not big because they have played just the three matches but because the competition has a small gap between the two matches, these things happen all the time. So it's not only about us,” said Kiko Ramirez in the pre-match press conference.

While the news from the NorthEast United FC squad after the departure of Fredrico Gallego due to knee injury is to find a replacement.

In the pre-match press conference, head coach Khalid Jamil hinted on bringing one of Imtan Khan, Gani Nigam, Mapuia Lalkhawpuimawia, William Lalnunfela) to play this match.

Key Players

Odisha FC

Javi Hernandez: Odisha FC’s new signing has undoubtedly been their best player on the pitch, contributing five goals in three matches for them. The 29-year-old midfielder has been the heart of Odisha FC’s midfield as he put up some splendid performances across three games which won him the Hero of the Month award for November. Odisha FC would hope that he keeps his current form going for the rest of the season. 

Hector Rodas: The Spaniard has been rock solid in the Odisha backline, making five interceptions, nine clearances, and six blocks. A composed defender, Rodas also has the ability to score goals from set-pieces - having already scored two goals from them this season - making it a threat for opponents to deal with.

NorthEast United FC

Hernan Santana: The 31-year-old midfielder is great at holding the ball and has the ability to create goalscoring chances from his pinpoint crosses. Santana has made 12 tackles, 12 interceptions, three clearances, six blocks, with a passing accuracy of 80% in four matches. An influential player in the Highlanders side.

Hernan Santana is the only player to have won the Hero of the Match award twice this season. He was awarded it against Kerala Blasters (Match 7) and against FC Goa (Match 17).

Subhashish Roy: Roy has been phenomenal for his side, saving the most number of shots (17) in the league while also keeping a clean sheet. With a highly experienced keeper at their helm, the Highlanders can rely on the 35-year-old in crucial games.

Key stats

A fortress: NorthEast United FC have been unbeaten in their last six encounters at Tilak Maidan Stadium. However, all these matches happened last season.

Goalfest guaranteed: 14 goals have been scored in the four meetings between the two clubs. There has been a minimum of 3 goals in every game between Odisha FC and NorthEast United FC in the Hero ISL and in the current scheme of things, a flurry of goals seems possible.

Match timings and telecast details

Match: Odisha FC vs NorthEast United FC

Date: 10th December 2021

Venue: Tilak Maidan Stadium, Vasco da Gama, Goa

Kick-off time: 7.30 pm

Telecast: Star Sports 2, Star Sports 2 HD, Star Sports 3, Hindi Commentary on Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 Hindi HD, Star Sports 1 regional channels - Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, Telugu

Online Streaming: Disney+Hotstar and JioTV.

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