Match 25 Preview: Odisha FC keep fingers crossed for first win against flamboyant FC Goa

Odisha FC will be looking to end their winless run in the 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) when they take on FC Goa at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim on Saturday. The Gaurs beat Kerala Blasters FC in their last game to kick-start their 2020-21 campaign while Odisha succumbed to a 2-0 loss to Mumbai City FC in their previous encounter.

The Bhubaneswar-based club have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 10 games. Their head coach Stuart Baxter signed solid defenders like Steven Taylor and Jacob Tratt ahead of the season but Odisha have been unable to keep any clean sheets in their four matches so far. Adding to their defensive woes, Baxter’s side have also conceded three penalties this season.

Odisha FC have also not been helped by injuries, with Arshdeep Singh injuring himself at the beginning of the season. And then Kamaljit Singh had to be taken off in Odisha’s previous game due to concussion. Although Kamaljit is set to miss the encounter on Saturday, Arshdeep is likely to return between the sticks.

Odisha have failed to keep hold of the ball as well, and they average the second least possession of 45% in the league. They have attempted fewer shots than their opponents in three out of their four matches, which also shows their inability to create enough chances.

Speaking about their opponents ahead of the game, Odisha head coach Baxter said: “Goa have a set way of playing and they stick to it. It’s important that we don't allow them to gain some momentum. We have to be a constant threat. We have to be able to deal with them properly. They are one of the better teams and they deserve our respect.”

FC Goa, meanwhile, were at their best against Kerala Blasters and their head coach Juan Ferrando will be delighted that all six goals scored by his team this season so far have been from open play. Ferrando’s team will hope to break the deadlock early against a side that have conceded five goals in the first half, the most by a team this season.

The Gaurs however need to work on their defence, having been unable to keep a single clean sheet this season. Moreover, Odisha improve drastically in the second half, with 10 shots on target. Their shot accuracy in the second half is 41.66% compared to 11.76% in the first half while they have only conceded once in the second half this campaign.  

Goa head coach Ferrando spoke about the performance of his team’s defence at the pre-match press conference. “If you watch the goals [that we have conceded this season], against Bengaluru FC it was from throw-ins, Mumbai City FC and NorthEast [United FC] were penalties. I am happy because the team is good but it’s all about maintaining the intensity in my defence. It’s very important that we are more aggressive,” he said.


FC Goa

Goalkeepers: Mohammad Nawaz, Naveen Kumar, Shubham Dhas, Antonio D’Silva

Defenders: Sarineo Fernandes, Aiban Dohling, Ivan Gonzalez, James Donachie, Leander D’Cunha, Mohamed Ali, Sanson Pereira, Saviour Gama, Seriton Fernandes

Midfielders: Alberto Noguera, Alexander Jesuraj, Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia, Flan Gomes, Jorge Mendoza, Lenny Rodrigues, Nestor Dias, Phrangki Buam, Princeton Rebello, Redeem Tlang, Seiminlen Doungel

Forwards: Aaren D’Silva, Devendra Murgaonkar, Igor Angulo, Ishan Pandita, Makan Chothe

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 25: Odisha FC vs FC Goa

Date: December 12 (Saturday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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